Geographic Information System

There are numerous Geographic Information System definitions available. I prefer to use the following definitions to describe what exactly is a GIS.

What is GIS?

A Geographic Information System (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.
It is not about making maps, per se.

– It is about analyzing often large sets of data to generate information – hypotheses, conclusions, insights, new hunches – about widely varied socio-economic phenomena… It is about telling a story…

• J. T. Johson – GIS as a unifying methodology in Journalism

In other words:

  • It is an important technology because “Everything Happens Somewhere“
  • A Picture is worth a thousand words.
  • The system’s greatest strength lies in its ability to paint a visual image of complex data in a way that is intuitively understandable


ESRI – What is a Geographic Information System?

Wikipedia – Geographic Information Systems

National Geographic (Geographic information system)

USGS – What is a Geographic Information System?