What is GIS ?

What is GIS technology?

A framework to organize, communicate, and understand the science of our world.

 

A geographic information system (GIS) is a framework for gathering, managing, and analyzing data. Rooted in the science of geography, GIS integrates many types of data. It analyzes spatial location and organizes layers of information into visualizations using maps and 3D scenes. ​With this unique capability, GIS reveals deeper insights into data, such as patterns, relationships, and situations—helping users make smarter decisions.

Location Intelligence

Hundreds of thousands of organizations in virtually every field are using GIS to make maps that communicate, perform analysis, share information, and solve complex problems around the world. This is changing the way the world works.

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Identify problems

Use GIS to illuminate issues that are driven by geography. This map of opioid prescription claims reveals the geographic patterns that emerge when data is well-mapped.

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Monitor change

If a picture tells a thousand words, a map tells a thousand pictures. This map starkly reveals the extent of glacier retreat in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Manage & respond to events

GIS delivers real-time situational awareness. This hurricane and cyclone map shows potential impact to people and businesses, probable track of storms, and storm surge.

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Perform forecasting

Use GIS to forecast traffic. This map highlights challenges at an intersection in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, where forecasting shows traffic is expected to worsen based on land use changes.

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Set priorities

GIS helps to set priorities based on spatial analysis. By analyzing crime patterns, public safety officials can identify target areas and assign officers in those areas.

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Understand trends

GIS helps you gain insight into data that might be missed in a spreadsheet. This map measures job growth or losses in different industries and quantifies local competitive advantage.

How GIS Works

Understand the World around You

GIS software is designed to capture, manage, analyze, and display all forms of geographically referenced information.

GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize our world in ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts.

GIS software helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared—on a map!

How GIS Works

GIS technology applies geographic science with tools for understanding and collaboration. It helps people reach a common goal: to gain actionable intelligence from all types of data.

Maps

Maps are the geographic container for the data layers and analytics you want to work with. GIS maps are easily shared and embedded in apps, and accessible by virtually everyone, everywhere.

Data

GIS integrates many different kinds of data layers using spatial location. Most data has a geographic component. GIS data includes imagery, features, and basemaps linked to spreadsheets and tables.

Analysis

Spatial analysis lets you evaluate suitability and capability, estimate and predict, interpret and understand, and much more, lending new perspectives to your insight and decision-making.

Apps

Apps provide focused user experiences for getting work done and bringing GIS to life for everyone. GIS apps work virtually everywhere: on your mobile phones, tablets, in web browsers, and on desktops.

Showcase

Geography Matters in every organization and every discipline. Let’s take a deeper look at how GIS software helps people make better decisions and make a difference in our world.

Solutions

Business

GIS helps retailers, real estate professionals, insurers, and others to visualize, manage, and analyze any business asset.

Defense & Intelligence

GIS plays an important role in assessing terrorist targets, battlefield planning, and military facilities management.

Education

GIS provides educators with tools to help students develop a greater understanding of our world.

Government

GIS helps governments increase efficiency, reduce costs, improve coordination, and deliver transparency and accountability.

Health & Human Services

GIS helps health organizations leverage limited resources and positively impact individuals, families, and society.

Mapping & Charting

GIS allows aeronautical, cartographic, and nautical organizations to implement an effective and efficient workflow.

Natural Resources

Natural resource professionals rely on GIS to help make critical decisions as they manage the earth’s resources.

Public Safety

GIS gives public safety personnel the ability to visualize relationships and reveal trends critical to response and planning.

Transportation

Transportation professionals use GIS to help in managing, planning, evaluating, and maintaining transportation systems.

Training

Software Training

Esri Training offers hundreds of instructor-led and e-Learning options that teach GIS problem-solving skills and best practices using ArcGIS software. Explore the Training Catalog at esri.com/coursecatalog

Learn about ArcGIS

Visit the learn.arcgis.com web site for self-study learning experience to understand through hands-on projects the application of GIS to solve geographic problems.

Resources

Wiki.GIS.com

Wiki.GIS.com is an encyclopedia dedicated to geographic information systems. This repository incorporates contributions from the GIS community for the benefit of GIS professionals, students, and anyone with an interest in GIS software. The wiki contains informative articles about GIS concepts, new technologies, products, people, and organizations.
Visit the wiki.

Publications

Keep up-to-date on the latest GIS software news and trends.

Free E-books

A large library of free e-books can help you learn more about GIS.

Essays on Geography and GIS

Main

The Power of Mapping

A geographic information system (GIS) lets us visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends.

GIS benefits organizations of all sizes and in almost every industry. There is a growing interest in and awareness of the economic and strategic value of GIS.

Solutions

Cost Savings from Greater Efficiency

GIS is widely used to optimize maintenance schedules and daily fleet movements. Typical implementations can result in a savings of 10 to 30 percent in operational expenses through reduction in fuel use and staff time, improved customer service, and more efficient scheduling.

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Better Decision Making

GIS is the go-to technology for making better decisions about location. Common examples include real estate site selection, route/corridor selection, evacuation planning, conservation, natural resource extraction, etc. Making correct decisions about location is critical to the success of an organization.

This GIS-based disaster decision support system helps Taiwan plan for and respond to typhoons.

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Improved Communication

GIS-based maps and visualizations greatly assist in understanding situations and in storytelling. They are a type of language that improves communication between different teams, departments, disciplines, professional fields, organizations, and the public. Michels Corporation improved collaboration and communication with GIS.

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Better Record Keeping

Many organizations have a primary responsibility of maintaining authoritative records about the status and change of geography. GIS provides a strong framework for managing these types of records with full transaction support and reporting tools. ROI on Montana’s GIS-based statewide cadastral system is more than $9 million annually.

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Managing Geographically

GIS is becoming essential to understanding what is happening and what will happen in geographic space. Once we understand, we can prescribe action. This new approach to management—managing geographically—is transforming the way organizations operate. Kuwait University used GIS to design and build a multibillion-dollar expansion.

Read More

How GIS Works

How GIS Works

Understand the World around You

GIS software is designed to capture, manage, analyze, and display all forms of geographically referenced information.

GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize our world in ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts.

GIS software helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared—on a map!

How Does GIS Work?

A simple five-step process lets you apply GIS to any business or organizational problem that requires a geographic decision.

Ask

What is the problem you are trying to solve or analyze, and where is it located? Framing the question will help you decide what to analyze and how to present the results to

Acquire

Next you need to find the data needed to complete your project. The type of data and the geographic scope of your project will help direct your methods of collecting data and conducting the analysis.

Examine

You will only know for certain that your data is appropriate for your study after thoroughly examining it. This includes how the data is organized, how accurate it is, and where the data came from.

Analyze

Geographic analysis is the core strength of GIS. Depending on your project, there are many different analysis methods to choose from. GIS modeling tools make it relatively easy to make these changes and create new output.

Act

The results of your analysis can be shared through reports, maps, tables, and charts and delivered in printed format or digitally over a network or on the web. You need to decide on the best means for presenting your analysis, and GIS makes it easy to tailor the results for different audiences.

Showcase

Showcase

Geography Matters in every organization and every discipline. Let’s take a deeper look at how GIS software helps people make better decisions and make a difference in our world.

Solutions

Business

GIS helps retailers, real estate professionals, insurers, and others to visualize, manage, and analyze any business asset.

Defense & Intelligence

GIS plays an important role in assessing terrorist targets, battlefield planning, and military facilities management.

Education

GIS provides educators with tools to help students develop a greater understanding of our world.

Government

GIS helps governments increase efficiency, reduce costs, improve coordination, and deliver transparency and accountability.

Health & Human Services

GIS helps health organizations leverage limited resources and positively impact individuals, families, and society.

Mapping & Charting

GIS allows aeronautical, cartographic, and nautical organizations to implement an effective and efficient workflow.

Natural Resources

Natural resource professionals rely on GIS to help make critical decisions as they manage the earth’s resources.

Public Safety

GIS gives public safety personnel the ability to visualize relationships and reveal trends critical to response and planning.

Transportation

Transportation professionals use GIS to help in managing, planning, evaluating, and maintaining transportation systems.

Training/Education

Training

Software Training

Esri Training offers hundreds of instructor-led and e-Learning options that teach GIS problem-solving skills and best practices using ArcGIS software. Explore the Training Catalog at esri.com/coursecatalog

Learn about ArcGIS

Visit the learn.arcgis.com web site for self-study learning experience to understand through hands-on projects the application of GIS to solve geographic problems.

Resources

Wiki.GIS.com

Wiki.GIS.com is an encyclopedia dedicated to geographic information systems. This repository incorporates contributions from the GIS community for the benefit of GIS professionals, students, and anyone with an interest in GIS software. The wiki contains informative articles about GIS concepts, new technologies, products, people, and organizations.
Visit the wiki.

Publications

Keep up-to-date on the latest GIS software news and trends.

Free E-books

A large library of free e-books can help you learn more about GIS.

Essays on Geography and GIS