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A geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed to capture, analyze, store, manipulate, present and manage all types of geographical data, like information from maps, global positioning systems (GPS) and ubiquitous data, like locations of landmarks and areas hit by calamities. It can display data related to positions on the Earth's surface and show these different types of data on a map, allowing people to see various data patterns and relationships.
A GIS integrates hardware and software to capture/analyze data, allowing users to question, understand and visualize data in many different ways to reveal patterns or trends in the form of maps, globes, charts and reports. This helps users answer questions and solve problems, which is useful because by viewing and analyzing visual data, the human mind can more easily discern patterns and relationships.
The primary benefit of a GIS is its cross-discipline communication. Because people have the ability to understand visual impulses, this enables better communication. A GIS also facilitates better decision making. For example, it is easier for a disaster response coordinator to manage and shift resources when a field can be visualized to determine which areas are in need of help, as well as the urgency and capacity of that help.
Google Maps is the best example of a GIS.
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