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Models play a central role in interoperability, and a clear understanding of modeling is an important foundation skill. Most people can learn to understand models quite easily, but it is much harder to create good models.
Models are either representations of aspects of interest in the real world, such as maps, or specifications for things that have not yet been built, such as blueprints used by architects and engineers. Each model is a simplified representation of aspects of the real world or the world we wish to create.
For example, an architect produces hundreds of different drawings or diagrams when designing a building – each diagram having a specific purpose and relating to a single project. Any single type of diagram shows only certain aspects of a situation – everything else is ignored. This simplification provides both the power (it makes the situation understandable) and the weakness of diagrams (each diagram has a limited scope and some things are left out).