Geographic Information System

What Does Geographic Information System Mean?

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.


Techopedia Explains Geographic Information System

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.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…