Geographic Information System (GIS), Geography, Part 1

(a technology that manages, analyzes, and provides geographic information)

geographic information system, GIS (s) (noun), geographic information systems (pl)
The computer hardware, software, and technical expertise applied to assemble and to analyze geographical data: The CIS is especially used for the correlation of databases with graphic displays in order to present information, and it is frequently employed in environmental studies.

The geographic information system is an organized collection of computer hardware, software, geographic data, and personnel designed to efficiently capture, store, update, manipulate, analyze, and display all forms of geographically referenced information which can be drawn from different sources, both statistical and mapped.

Geographic information systems are computer programs linking features commonly seen on maps, such as roads, town boundaries, and water bodies, with related information not usually presented on maps, for example, type of road surface, population, type of agriculture, type of vegetation, or water quality information.

The GIS is a unique information system in which individual observations can be spatially referenced to each other.

The geographic information system is a technology that is used to view and analyze data from a geographic perspective. The technology is a piece of an organization's overall information system framework.

The GIS links locations to information, such as people to addresses, buildings to parcels of land, or streets within a network, and layers that information to give a better understanding of how it all interrelates. The user can then choose which layers to combine based on his/her purpose.

There's more information at the Geographic Information System (GIS): Index


The importance of geography

Geography is information about the earth's surface and the objects found on it, as well as a framework for organizing knowledge

Geography isn't just an academic subject, it's a serious discipline with multibillion dollar implications for businesses and governments.

Choosing sites, targeting market segments, planning distribution networks, and responding to emergencies, or redrawing country boundaries—all of these problems involve applications of geography.

  • A transformation is taking place. Businesses and government, schools and hospitals, nonprofit organizations, and others are taking advantage of it.
  • Geography matters because all around the world, people are working more efficiently.
  • Information that was previously limited to spreadsheets and databases is being unleashed in a new, exciting way—all using geography.
  • This isn't your elementary school's geography. This is using geography, or location of information, to gain new insights and make better, more informed decisions.
  • For example, in Texas, a department store analyzing credit card receipts by ZIP Code finds that a large number of its customers drive along a particular section of the freeway to reach a mall. The store could then make smart choices about where to place its billboard ads.
  • Linking locations to information is a process that applies to many aspects of decision making in business and the community.
  • Choosing a site, targeting a market segment, planning a distribution network, zoning a neighborhood, allocating resources, and responding to emergencies; all of these problems involve questions of geography.
  • Advantages in knowing about geographical perspectives

  • In which neighborhoods or ZIP Code areas do consumers with particular profiles live?
  • Which areas of a city are most vulnerable to seasonal flooding or other natural disasters?
  • Where are power poles located, and when did they last receive maintenance?
  • How do organizations unlock geography from the data they use every day to make decisions?
  • For anyone trying to evaluate information, the best way to view it is on a map.
  • Not just any map, but intelligent digital maps made possible by geographic information system (GIS) technology.
  • Everyone, including people who have never used maps to analyze data, is finding that maps make processing information much easier and more effective.
  • What Is GIS?

  • GIS is computer software that links geographic information (where things are) with descriptive information (what things are).
  • Unlike a flat paper map, where "what you see is what you get," a GIS can present many layers of different information.
  • To use a paper map, all one does is to unfold it.
  • Spread out before the user is a representation of cities and roads, mountains and rivers, railroads, and political boundaries.
  • The cities are represented by little dots or circles, the roads by black lines, the mountain peaks by tiny triangles, and the lakes by small blue areas similar to the real lakes.
  • A digital map is not much more difficult to use than a paper map. As on the paper map, there are dots or points that represent features on the map; such as, cities, lines that represent features; such as, roads, and small areas that represent features; such as, lakes.
  • All of this information—where the point is located, how long the road is, and even how many square miles a lake occupies—is stored as layers in digital format as a pattern of ones and zeros in a computer.
  • Think of this geographic data as layers of information underneath the computer screen.
  • Each layer represents a particular theme or feature of the map.
  • One theme could be made up of all the roads in an area.
  • Another theme could represent all the lakes in the same area and another could represent all of the cities.
  • These themes can be laid on top of one another, creating a stack of information about the same geographic area.
  • Each layer can be turned off and on, as if one were peeling a layer off the stack or placing it back on.
  • A person can control the amount of information about an area that is wanted, at any time, on any specific map.

Related topics about "technology": Biomimetics: Index; Biopiracy; Emerging Technologies; Geographic Information System (GIS): Index; Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS); Global Positioning System (GPS); Information Tech; Mechatronics; Nanotechnology; RFID; Robotics; Technological Breakthroughs; Technological Innovations; WAAS; Wireless Communications.