A new architecture for GIS is presented based on a systems view of geographical space as it is popular in geography. Starting with concepts of spatial modelling, current GIS standards are examined for their suitability to support different modelling concepts. A thorough look at GIS functions then leads to a proposal for a classification scheme that not only helps design a software system, but which could also support general teaching of GIS concepts. For proof of concepts, a prototype of the new architecture was developed which finally turned into a geo-data-server product.