Geographic information system

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A geographic information system (GIS), geographical information system, or geospatial information system is any system that captures, stores, analyzes, manages, and presents data that are linked to location(s). In the simplest terms, GIS is the merging of cartography, statistical analysis, and database technology. GIS may be used in archaeology, geography, cartography, remote sensing, land surveying, public utility management, natural resource management, precision agriculture, photogrammetry, urban planning, emergency management, navigation, aerial video, and localized search engines.

As GIS can be thought of as a system, it digitally creates and "manipulates" spatial areas that may be jurisdictional, purpose or application oriented for which a specific GIS is developed. Hence, a GIS developed for an application, jurisdiction, enterprise, or purpose may not be necessarily interoperable or compatible with a GIS that has been developed for some other application, jurisdiction, enterprise, or purpose. What goes beyond a GIS is a spatial data infrastructure (SDI), a concept that has no such restrictive boundaries.

Therefore, in a general sense, the term describes any information system that integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares, and displays geographic information for informing decision making. GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries (user-created searches), analyze spatial information, edit data, maps, and present the results of all these operations.[1] Geographic information science is the science underlying the geographic concepts, applications and systems.[2] GIS can be studied in degree and certificate programs at many universities.


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