GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems. The Geographic information part of the acronym refers to information about positions on the earth surface. This is also known as spatial data because it can be located in space and has a geographic reference. An example of spatial data is something like your home address. The system is spatial, while information systems, in general, are used to manipulate, summarize, query edit and visualize data, GIS does all these things with spatial information.
Who uses it?
Every day millions of decisions are powered by GIS. Retailers use it to pinpoint the best locations for new stores and stock items that match local customer’s needs. GIS is used by conservation organizations to predict likely constancies of global warming.
Utility organizations uses it to respond promptly and efficiently to reported power outages. It is used by the police force to discover patterns in criminal activity and plan operations much more strategically.
Resulting patterns and trends can be then seen on the digital map much easier than viewing the data on spreadsheets.
How does GIS work?
GIS software runs on the computers ranging from the most powerful servers to software on your mobile phone. The information about the real world is stored as a collection of thematic layers linked by geography. Each layer contain similar features, such as streets or rivers. People can then analyze geographic data in GIS tools and visualize geographic data as maps, graphs or charts.
Patterns and trend can be easily identified so information that was previously buried in the spreadsheet now comes to life. For example, retailers like Nike and Levi’s uses GIS to avoid costly mistakes when opening a new retail locations.
Advantages of its usage
GIS allows us to make better decisions in geography. Complex analysis is made simple and decisions become clear. GIS uses the words and numbers from databases by them on the map. Many information are related locations and then map shows the pattern throw the data we might not otherwise see.
It allows you to use existing data in new ways. By projecting data on maps it can help you to answer many questions like how and where, with the locational information in mind. With the geographic knowledge you can form better conclusions and decisions. Nowadays GIS is a important element in understand it all because it has a extensive spring of information.