Geographical Information Systems
What is GIS?
GIS is an industry short form for "Geographical Information System", a
computerized system comprised of hardware, software, data, specialized
personnel and training. This system is used to store, retrieve, manipulate,
query, analyze and report on information.
A GIS uses geography (real world coordinates) as the common key between data
sets. It combines spatial information (describing the location and shape of a
geographic feature and its relationship to other features) with descriptive
(tabular) information about the feature.
Every feature stored answers three main questions:
- What is it?
- Where is it located?
- How does it relate to other features?
A GIS is not simply a computer system for map creation. It is an analysis
tool which incorporates graphics with a database management system. It is the
making of smart maps and is used in almost all sectors of government in one
form or another.