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Geographic Information Systems. GIS Definition. Locations. Networks. Areas. Because most information has a spatial component ESRI, GE SmallWorld. 1. GIS is Important. GIS is Important. It helps temporal reasoning as well S. H. Gage, J. Helly and M. Colunga, GIS/EM4 2000. GIS is Useful.

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1 gis is important




Because most information has a spatial component

ESRI, GE SmallWorld

1. GIS is Important
gis is important
GIS is Important

It helps temporal reasoning as well

S. H. Gage, J. Helly and M. Colunga, GIS/EM4 2000

gis is useful
GIS is Useful
  • The “W” questions

Where, what, when, why, how, who, what if…

  • GIS shows “what” are “where”, and helps us to think other “W”s
  • It helps generate and test hypothesis
gis integrates various information
GIS integrates various information

Social Factors



Land Use



It allows us to see the “whole”

Courtesy: USGS

gis is useful1
GIS is Useful
  • GIS is used by a wide range of disciplines
  • It changed the way we operate
  • It opened many opportunities
a few facts
A Few Facts
  • NCGIA/NSF grants
  • GIS programs in government agencies
  • GIS consulting firms and contracts
  • GIS conferences, journals, and professional societies
2 what is a gis
2. What is a GIS
  • An early effort, Ian McHarg, 1969
what is a gis
What is a GIS
  • A process oriented definition:

A GIS is a computer-based system that provides for the collection, storage, analysis, and display of geo-referenced data.

  • A problem solving oriented definition:

A decision support system involving the integration of spatially referenced data in a problem solving environment.

what is a gis1
What is a GIS
  • Data
  • Information
  • Knowledge
  • Intelligence
  • (DIKI)
what is a gis2







What is a GIS
  • GISystems and GIScience

GISystems refers to

software and hardware,

and is used as a tool

to support a project

GIScience refers to the particular field of scientific study

3 related fields
3. Related Fields
  • Manual cartography
  • DBMS (Data base management system)
  • CAD (Computer-aided drafting)
  • Computer Mapping
  • AM/FM (Automated Mapping/Facility Management)
  • LIS (Land information system)
  • GIS
spatial operations
Spatial Operations

GIS is not just mapping. It does spatial operations. For example, it helps to find:

  • Where is object A?
  • Where is A in relation to place B?
  • How many occurrences of type A are there within

distance D of B?

spatial operations1
Spatial Operations
  • What is the value of function Z at position X?
  • How large is B (area, perimeter, count of inclusions)?
  • What is the result of intersecting various kinds of spatial data?
geographic analysis of disease risk
Where are the potential areas of disease?

Who are the populations at risk now and in the future?

Geographic Analysis of Disease Risk
spatial operations2
Spatial Operations
  • What is the path of least cost, resistance, or

distance along the ground from X to Y along pathway P?

  • What is at point X1, X2?
  • What objects are next to objects having certain

combinations of attributes?