The field of geospatial analytics and modeling has a long history coinciding with the physical and cultural evolution of humans. This history is analyzed relative to the four scientific paradigms: (1) empirical analysis through description, (2) theoretical explorations using models and generalizations, (3) simulating complex phenomena and (4) data exploration. Correlations among developments in general science and those of the geospatial sciences are explored. Trends identify areas ripe for growth and improvement in the fourth and current paradigm that has been spawned by the big data explosion, such as exposing the ‘black box’ of GeoAI training and generating big geospatial training datasets. Future research should focus on integrating both theory- and data-driven knowledge discovery.