Beard , Technician
GIS stands for 'geographic information system', a special kind of
information system using
computers to work with information special information about what is
where on the Earth's surface
There are many kinds of information:
why use computers to handle information?
easy to store, retrieve, query, manipulate, send, receive, copy, display...
Most of these things can be done by hand, but only slowly.
Paper maps are difficult to handle, store, send, receive, copy...
GIS makes all of these operations easier.
Today, all kinds of information are being handled in computers. It is
good to have one place to go for all kinds of information. One
system, the Internet, is used to send, receive all kinds of information.
What Does a GIS Look Like:
How Would I Know One if I Saw One?
There are two distinct meanings of the question "is this a GIS?"
a real application, including the hardware, data, and software needed
to solve a problem
- a type of software sold by a software developer (compare
focus on (1) first
like any other computer (nothing special about the hardware)
keyboard, display monitor (screen), cables, Internet connection
- some extra bits perhaps
- maps come in big bits of paper
- need specially big printers, plotters to make map output from GIS
- need specially big devices to scan, input data from maps to GIS
- not all GISs will need these.
- what's important is the kind of information that's stored
- information about what is where
- the contents of maps and images
you'd know a computer was being used for GIS because the data stored
in it would include maps and images
but in addition, a GIS includes the tools to do things with this
information (special software) special functions that work on
geographic information functions to:
The functions that a GIS can perform are part of its software.
Now we're into the second meaning above - A GIS is a type of
software. This software will probably have been supplied by a company
that specializes in GIS. The user will have combined the software
with his or her data.
The price of the software may be anywhere from $50 to $50,000. There
are many different GIS software vendors: some specialize in GIS, for
others, GIS is one of many markets for their products.
What is There to Learn About GIS?
defining a GIS project
what data will I need?
- how detailed must the data be?
- how will the data be manipulated?
- where will the data come from?
- off the Internet
- how to search for geographic data
- creating data from paper maps by digitizing or scanning
- how to build a database
- there are many different ways
- data come in different formats
- how to operate a GIS
- what kinds of GIS are there?
- finding the right functions
- how to make a good display or map
- understanding the results
- what do they tell me about the real world?