What is GIS?

          Once I started writing this blog, I received a number of feedbacks from readers asking me to write something about what exactly GIS is. So here is some information, that will give you an idea about "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. GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts.
          A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared. GIS technology can be integrated into any enterprise information system framework.

          People use GIS to map locate where things are and let you find places that have the feature that you are looking for, and to see where to take action. A simple example of this is Geocaching. People map quantities, like where the most and least are, to find places that meet their criteria and take action, or to see the relationships between places. This gives an additional level of information beyond simply mapping the locations of features.

          While you can see concentrations by simply mapping the locations of features, in areas with many features it may be difficult to see which areas have a higher concentration than others. A density map lets you measure the number of features using a uniform areal unit, such as acres or square miles, so you can clearly see the distribution. Mapping density is especially useful when mapping areas, such as census tracts or counties, which vary greatly in size. On maps showing the number of people per census tract, the larger tracts might have more people than smaller ones. But some smaller tracts might have more people per square mile—a higher density.

         GIS is also used to monitor what's happening and to take specific action by mapping what's inside a specific area. For example, a district attorney would monitor drug-related arrests to find out if an arrest is within 1,000 feet of a school--if so, stiffer penalties apply.

         GIS can also be used to locate what's nearby a specific location. Map change is used to anticipate future needs. For example, a police chief might study how crime patterns change from month to month to help decide where officers should be assigned.

         This article must have given you a general idea of "What is GIS?" Do drop in your comments here or send me your feedbacks at my mail address!

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