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?

GIS stands for Geographic Information System. It is a system that captures, stores, manipulates, analyzes, manages, and presents spatial or geographical data. GIS technology integrates common database operations such as query and statistical analysis with the unique visualization and geographic analysis. It can be used for a wide range of applications, including mapping, land-use planning, resource management, and many others.

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?

Learn More About GIS:

1. The ESRI GIS Tutorials website provides a wide range of tutorials for beginners to advanced users, covering various aspects of GIS, such as map creation, data analysis, and automation.

2. The U.S. Geological Survey website offers a variety of GIS data and resources, as well as information on GIS best practices and case studies.

3. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency website has a section dedicated to GIS education, which includes a GIS dictionary, online courses, and interactive tutorials.

4. The GIS Lounge website is a great resource for GIS news, tutorials, and job opportunities.

5. The OpenGeo website provides free and open-source software tools and resources for working with GIS data and building web-based GIS applications.