2.2 A system map
One way of explaining and analysing a system is to represent it in a graphical form, known as a system map. I'll use the example of a system for making an appointment with a doctor in a health centre to illustrate this point. In this example, the health centre uses a computerised booking system and the patient may phone or visit the health centre to make an appointment. Therefore, the system includes a patient, a receptionist, a doctor, and a computerised booking system. The example shown in Figure 1 shows how this system could be represented using a system map. I have called the system a 'health centre appointments system' and you can see a number of blobs called 'patient', 'doctor', 'receptionist', and 'computerised booking system'. These are the components of the appointments system. The thick line around these is the system boundary that defines which components are part of the system and which are outside it.