A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a system used to gather data and incorporate it in order to store, scrutinize, distribute, and show geographic information. GIS data displays actual world features such as elevations, terrain, and transportation networks, in a digital format. Images that are displayed come from the area where the information was retrieved. Users can take the information for such purposes as analyzing the digitally displayed data, mapping the data, and editing the data. A GIS will include application software for aerial photography, surveying land, extensive geographical mapping, remote sensing, and much more. It is often used to study global problems in an effort to find solutions much more quickly.
Recently, Geographic Information Systems have been developed to be used by the public. For instance, Bing Maps and Google Maps are GIS applications now used by millions of people around the world. Through interactive web mapping, the public now has access to large volumes of geographical information. Another important use of GIS is its use when studying climate change. It is now used in the tracking and analyzing of data regarding the impact of climate change. For example, GIS is used to study the ice melting in the Arctic.
Earthquake mapping is another way one can use GIS. One can map tectonic shifts in high risk earthquake areas for public safety planning and business development such as determining insurance rates. In regards to business marketing techniques, a business can use GIS to analyze demographic data to find regions where they will likely sell their products or services. Governments can utilize GIS to analyze census information such as health and education statistics. This is helpful for creating or modifying public policies and government spending. It can also provide health research assistance such as analyzing heart disease research data. As well, it can help with the creation of jobs in the appropriate regions which can give a boost to the economy.
Not only is GIS technology used for climate change research, it can be used for security and law enforcement logistics, urban planning and development such as selecting where to develop communities and roads that will have the least environmental impact, business marketing and evaluating a potential business market, cartography, management of natural resources, natural resource mapping, archaeology research analysis, and tracking and analyzing natural disasters with the intent of improving emergency response time. As well, GIS technology can be used as an educational tool for technology schools and universities for such studies as geography, science, and mathematics. Even high school students can make use of GIS in their curriculum.
Mapping where places and objects are located will help people find places that have the attributes they are searching for, and if there are problems, they can then identify what needs to be done and put together an efficient and effective problem solving strategy. As well, they are able to see important patterns emerging. The objective of GIS is to identify new trends from the analyzed research. Studying data using the Geographic Information System will help one learn and understand information much quicker and easier.