A geographic information system (GIS), also known as a geographical information system or geospatial information system, is any system for capturing, storing, analyzing, managing and presenting data and associated attributes which are spatially referenced to Earth. EARTH was a short-lived Japanese vocal trio which released 6 singles and 1 album between 2000 and 2001 In certain countries such as Canada, GIS is more well known as Geomatics. Geomatics is the discipline of gathering storing processing and delivery of geographic information or spatially referenced information The other definition is, "GIS is a system or tool or computer based methodology to collect, store, manipulate, retrieve and analyse spatially (georeferenced) data. "
In the strictest sense, it is any information system capable of integrating, storing, editing, analyzing, sharing, and displaying geographically referenced information. The term information system (IS sometimes refers to a System of persons Data records and activities that process the data and Information in an organization To georeference something means to define its existence in physical space. In a more generic sense, GIS is a tool that allows users to create interactive queries (user created searches), analyze the spatial information, edit data, maps, and present the results of all these operations. Space is the extent within which Matter is physically extended and objects and Events have positions relative to one another Geographic information science is the science underlying the geographic concepts, applications and systems, taught in degree and GIS Certificate programs at many universities. Geographic information science (GISc or GISci is the academic theory behind the development use and application of geographic information systems (GIS
Geographic information system technology can be used for scientific investigations, resource management, asset management, environmental impact assessment, urban planning, cartography, criminology, history, sales, marketing, and logistics. Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning " Knowledge " or "knowing" is the effort to discover, and increase human understanding In Organizational studies, resource management is the efficient and effective deployment of an organization's resources when they are needed An ( EIA) is an assessment of the possible impact&ndashpositive or negative&ndashthat a proposed project may have on the Natural environment. Schools of thought In the mid-18th century criminology arose as social philosophers gave thought to crime and concepts of law A historical geographic information system (also written as historical GIS or HGIS) is a Geographic information system that may display store and analyze In popular usage "marketing" is the promotion of products especially Advertising and Branding However in professional usage the term has a wider meaning of Logistics is the management of the flow of Goods, Information and other resources including Energy and people between the point of origin and the point For example, GIS might allow emergency planners to easily calculate emergency response times in the event of a natural disaster, GIS might be used to find wetlands that need protection from pollution, or GIS can be used by a company to site a new business location to take advantage of a previously underserved market. A natural disaster is the consequence of a Natural hazard (eg A wetland is an area of Land consisting of Soil that is Saturated with Moisture, such as a Swamp, Marsh, or Bog Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into an environment that causes instability disorder harm or discomfort to the physical systems or living organisms they are in Sao Paulo Stock Exchangejpg|thumb| Virtual market arena where buyer and seller are not present and trade via intemediates and electronical information
About 15,500 years ago , on the walls of caves near Lascaux, France, Cro-Magnon hunters drew pictures of the animals they hunted. Lascaux is the setting of a complex of Caves in southwestern France famous for its prehistoric Cave paintings The original caves are located near This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. Cro-Magnon ( French) is one of the main types of Homo sapiens of the European Upper Paleolithic, living approximately 40000 to 10000 years  Associated with the animal drawings are track lines and tallies thought to depict migration routes. While simplistic in comparison to modern technologies, these early records mimic the two-element structure of modern geographic information systems, an image associated with attribute information. 
In 1854, John Snow depicted a cholera outbreak in London using points to represent the locations of some individual cases, possibly the earliest use of the geographic method. John Snow ( 15 March 1813 &ndash 16 June 1858) was a British physician and a leader in the adoption of Anaesthesia and medical Cholera, sometimes known as Asiatic cholera or epidemic cholera, is an infectious Gastroenteritis caused by the Bacterium  His study of the distribution of cholera led to the source of the disease, a contaminated water pump within the heart of the cholera outbreak.
While the basic elements of topology and theme existed previously in cartography, the John Snow map was unique, using cartographic methods not only to depict but also to analyze clusters of geographically dependent phenomena for the first time. Edmund William Gilbert (1900–1973 was a British social geographer John Snow ( 15 March 1813 &ndash 16 June 1858) was a British physician and a leader in the adoption of Anaesthesia and medical Cholera, sometimes known as Asiatic cholera or epidemic cholera, is an infectious Gastroenteritis caused by the Bacterium London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. Topology ( Greek topos, "place" and logos, "study" is the branch of Mathematics that studies the properties of
The early 20th century saw the development of "photo lithography" where maps were separated into layers. Computer hardware development spurred by nuclear weapon research would lead to general purpose computer "mapping" applications by the early 1960s. A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from Nuclear reactions either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. 
The year 1962 saw the development of the world's first true operational GIS in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada by the federal Department of Forestry and Rural Development. Ottawa (ˈɒtəwə or sometimes /ˈɒtəwɑː/ is the Capital of Canada and the country's fourth largest municipality. Developed by Dr. Roger Tomlinson, it was called the "Canada Geographic Information System" (CGIS) and was used to store, analyze, and manipulate data collected for the Canada Land Inventory (CLI)—an initiative to determine the land capability for rural Canada by mapping information about soils, agriculture, recreation, wildlife, waterfowl, forestry, and land use at a scale of 1:50,000. Roger F Tomlinson CM, BSc, MSc, PhD, DSc (hc (born 17 November 1933 is a geographer and the primary originator of modern The Canada Geographic Information System (CGIS was developed in the 1950s and 1960s to assist in Regulatory procedures of land-use management and resource monitoring The Canada Land Inventory (CLI is a multi-disciplinary land inventory of rural Canada A rating classification factor was also added to permit analysis.
CGIS was the world's first "system" and was an improvement over "mapping" applications as it provided capabilities for overlay, measurement, and digitizing/scanning. It supported a national coordinate system that spanned the continent, coded lines as "arcs" having a true embedded topology, and it stored the attribute and locational information in separate files. As a result of this, Tomlinson has become known as the "father of GIS," particularly for his use of overlays in promoting the spatial analysis of convergent geographic data.  CGIS lasted into the 1990s and built the largest digital land resource database in Canada. It was developed as a mainframe based system in support of federal and provincial resource planning and management. Its strength was continent-wide analysis of complex data sets. A data set (or dataset) is a collection of Data, usually presented in tabular form The CGIS was never available in a commercial form.
In 1964, Howard T Fisher formed the Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (LCGSA 1965-1991), where a number of important theoretical concepts in spatial data handling were developed, and which by the 1970s had distributed seminal software code and systems, such as 'SYMAP', 'GRID', and 'ODYSSEY' -- which served as literal and inspirational sources for subsequent commercial development -- to universities, research centers, and corporations worldwide. 
By the early 1980s, M&S Computing (later Intergraph), Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) and CARIS (Computer Aided Resource Information System) emerged as commercial vendors of GIS software, successfully incorporating many of the CGIS features, combining the first generation approach to separation of spatial and attribute information with a second generation approach to organizing attribute data into database structures. Intergraph Corporation is a software company with 3879 employees worldwide (2008 For the Irish Think tank, see Economic and Social Research Institute. ' CARIS' (Computer Aided Resource Information System is a software company that develops and supports geomatics software for land and marine applications In parallel, the development of a public domain GIS was begun in 1982 by the U. GRASS GIS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System is a free, Open source Geographical information system (GIS capable of handling Raster S. Army Corp of Engineering Research Laboratory (USA-CERL) in Champaign, Illinois, a branch of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to meet the need of the United States military for software for land management and environmental planning. The later 1980s and 1990s industry growth were spurred on by the growing use of GIS on Unix workstations and the personal computer. Unix (officially trademarked as UNIX, sometimes also written as Unix with Small caps) is a computer A personal computer ( PC) is any Computer whose original sales price size and capabilities make it useful for individuals and which is intended to be operated By the end of the 20th century, the rapid growth in various systems had been consolidated and standardized on relatively few platforms and users were beginning to export the concept of viewing GIS data over the Internet, requiring data format and transfer standards. More recently, there is a growing number of free, open source GIS packages which run on a range of operating systems and can be customized to perform specific tasks.
Modern GIS technologies use digital information, for which various digitized data creation methods are used. The most common method of data creation is digitization, where a hard copy map or survey plan is transferred into a digital medium through the use of a computer-aided design (CAD) program, and geo-referencing capabilities. With the wide availability of ortho-rectified imagery (both from satellite and aerial sources), heads-up digitizing is becoming the main avenue through which geographic data is extracted. Heads-up digitizing involves the tracing of geographic data directly on top of the aerial imagery instead of through the traditional method of tracing the geographic form on a separate digitizing tablet.
If you could relate information about the rainfall of your state to aerial photographs of your county, you might be able to tell which wetlands dry up at certain times of the year. A state is a political association with effective Sovereignty over a geographic Area and representing a Population. A county is a Land area of Regional Government within a larger State. A GIS, which can use information from many different sources in many different forms, can help with such analyses. The primary requirement for the source data consists of knowing the locations for the variables. Location may be annotated by x, y, and z coordinates of longitude, latitude, and elevation, or by other geocode systems like ZIP Codes or by highway mile markers. Longitude (ˈlɒndʒɪˌtjuːd or ˈlɒŋgɪˌtjuːd symbolized by the Greek character Lambda (λ is the east-west Geographic coordinate measurement Latitude, usually denoted symbolically by the Greek letter phi ( Φ) gives the location of a place on Earth (or other planetary body north or south of the The elevation of a Geographic location is its height above a fixed reference point often the mean sea level. A Geocode ( G eospatial E ntity O bject Code) is representation format of a geospatial coordinate measurement used to provide a standard representation The ZIP code is the system of Postal codes used by the United States Postal Service (USPS Any variable that can be located spatially can be fed into a GIS. Several computer databases that can be directly entered into a GIS are being produced by government agencies and non-government organizations. A Computer Database is a structured collection of records or data that is stored in a computer system Different kinds of data in map form can be entered into a GIS.
A GIS can also convert existing digital information, which may not yet be in map form, into forms it can recognize and use. For example, digital satellite images generated through remote sensing can be analyzed to produce a map-like layer of digital information about vegetative covers. Satellite imagery consists of photographs of Earth or other planets made by means of Artificial satellites. Remote sensing is the small or large-scale acquisition of information of an object or phenomenon by the use of either recording or real-time sensing device(s that is not in physical Another fairly developed resource for naming GIS objects is the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (GTGN), which is a structured vocabulary containing around 1,000,000 names and other information about places. The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (abbreviated Getty TGN or GTGN) is a product of the J The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (abbreviated Getty TGN or GTGN) is a product of the J
Likewise, census or hydrologic tabular data can be converted to map-like form, serving as layers of thematic information in a GIS. A census is the procedure of acquiring information about every member of a given population
GIS data represents real world objects (roads, land use, elevation) with digital data. Debt AIDS Trade in Africa (or DATA) is a Multinational non-government organization founded in January 2002 in London by U2 's Real world objects can be divided into two abstractions: discrete objects (a house) and continuous fields (rain fall amount or elevation). There are two broad methods used to store data in a GIS for both abstractions: Raster and Vector.
A raster data type is, in essence, any type of digital image. Anyone who is familiar with digital photography will recognize the pixel as the smallest individual unit of an image. In Computer graphics, a raster graphics image or bitmap, is a Data structure representing a generally rectangular grid of Pixels A combination of these pixels will create an image, distinct from the commonly used scalable vector graphics which are the basis of the vector model. While a digital image is concerned with the output as representation of reality, in a photograph or art transferred to computer, the raster data type will reflect an abstraction of reality. Aerial photos are one commonly used form of raster data, with only one purpose, to display a detailed image on a map or for the purposes of digitization. Other raster data sets will contain information regarding elevation, a DEM, or reflectance of a particular wavelength of light, LANDSAT. A digital elevation model ( DEM) is a Digital representation of ground Surface Topography or Terrain. The Landsat program is the longest running enterprise for acquisition of imagery of Earth from space
Raster data type consists of rows and columns of cells, with each cell storing a single value. A bit array (or bitmap, in some cases is an Array Data structure which compactly stores individual bits ( Boolean values. Raster data can be images (raster images) with each pixel (or cell) containing a color value. In Computer graphics, a raster graphics image or bitmap, is a Data structure representing a generally rectangular grid of Pixels Additional values recorded for each cell may be a discrete value, such as land use, a continuous value, such as temperature, or a null value if no data is available. Null has several meanings in Computer programming.;Null pointer or null reference Null is a special Pointer value (or other kind of object reference While a raster cell stores a single value, it can be extended by using raster bands to represent RGB (red, green, blue) colors, colormaps (a mapping between a thematic code and RGB value), or an extended attribute table with one row for each unique cell value. The resolution of the raster data set is its cell width in ground units.
Raster data is stored in various formats; from a standard file-based structure of TIF, JPEG, etc. to binary large object (BLOB) data stored directly in a relational database management system (RDBMS) similar to other vector-based feature classes. A binary large object, also known as a blob, is a collection of Binary data stored as a single entity in a Database management system. A Relational database management system (RDBMS is a Database management system (DBMS that is based on the Relational model as introduced by E Database storage, when properly indexed, typically allows for quicker retrieval of the raster data but can require storage of millions of significantly-sized records.
In a GIS, geographical features are often expressed as vectors, by considering those features as geometrical shapes. Geometry ( Greek γεωμετρία; geo = earth metria = measure is a part of Mathematics concerned with questions of size shape and relative position Different geographical features are expressed by different types of geometry:
Each of these geometries is linked to a row in a database that describes their attributes. For example, a database that describes lakes may contain a lake's depth, water quality, pollution level. This information can be used to make a map to describe a particular attribute of the dataset. For example, lakes could be coloured depending on level of pollution. Different geometries can also be compared. For example, the GIS could be used to identify all wells (point geometry) that are within 1-mile (1. 6 km) of a lake (polygon geometry) that has a high level of pollution.
Vector features can be made to respect spatial integrity through the application of topology rules such as 'polygons must not overlap'. Vector data can also be used to represent continuously varying phenomena. Contour lines and triangulated irregular networks (TIN) are used to represent elevation or other continuously changing values. A contour line (also Level set, isopleth, isoline, isogram or isarithm) of a function of two A triangulated irregular network ( TIN) is a digital Data structure used in a Geographic information system (GIS for the representation of a Surface The elevation of a Geographic location is its height above a fixed reference point often the mean sea level. TINs record values at point locations, which are connected by lines to form an irregular mesh of triangles. The face of the triangles represent the terrain surface.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using a raster or vector data model to represent reality. Raster data sets record a value for all points in the area covered which may require more storage space than representing data in a vector format that can store data only where needed. Raster data also allows easy implementation of overlay operations, which are more difficult with vector data. Vector data can be displayed as vector graphics used on traditional maps, whereas raster data will appear as an image that, depending on the resolution of the raster file, may have a blocky appearance for object boundaries. Vector graphics is the use of geometrical primitives such as points lines, Curves and shapes or Polygon (s which are all based An image (from Latin imago) or picture is an artifact usually two-dimensional that has a similar appearance to some subject &mdashusually Vector data can be easier to register, scale, and re-project. This can simplify combining vector layers from different sources. Vector data are more compatible with relational database environment. They can be part of a relational table as a normal column and processes using a multitude of operators.
The file size for vector data is usually much smaller for storage and sharing than raster data. Image or raster data can be 10 to 100 times larger than vector data depending on the resolution. Another advantage of vector data is it can be easily updated and maintained. For example, a new highway is added. The raster image will have to be completely reproduced, but the vector data, "roads," can be easily updated by adding the missing road segment. In addition, vector data allow much more analysis capability especially for "networks" such as roads, power, rail, telecommunications, etc. For example, with vector data attributed with the characteristics of roads, ports, and airfields, allows the analyst to query for the best route or method of transportation. In the vector data, the analyst can query the data for the largest port with an airfield within 60 miles and a connecting road that is at least two lane highway. Raster data will not have all the characteristics of the features it displays.
Selected GIS additionally support the voxel data model. A voxel (a Portmanteau of the words Volumetric and Pixel) is a volume element representing a value on a Regular grid in A voxel (a portmanteau of the words volumetric and pixel) is a volume element, representing a value on a regular grid in three dimensional space. A regular grid is a Tessellation of the Euclidean plane by congruent rectangles or a space-filling tessellation of rectilinear Parallelepipeds 3D computer graphics (in contrast to 2D computer graphics) are graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data that is stored in the computer This is analogous to a pixel, which represents 2D image data. In Digital imaging, a pixel ( pict ure el ement is the smallest piece of information in an image 2D computer graphics is the Computer -based generation of Digital images mdashmostly from two-dimensional models (such as 2D geometric models text and digital Voxels can be interpolated from 3D point clouds (3D point vector data), or merged from 2D raster slices.
Additional non-spatial data can also be stored besides the spatial data represented by the coordinates of a vector geometry or the position of a raster cell. In vector data, the additional data are attributes of the object. For example, a forest inventory polygon may also have an identifier value and information about tree species. In raster data the cell value can store attribute information, but it can also be used as an identifier that can relate to records in another table. This article is about the data structure and the type In Computer science, a record type is a type whose values are records, i
There is also software being developed to support spatial and non-spatial decision-making. In this software, the solutions to spatial problems are integrated with solutions to non-spatial problems. The end result it is hoped with these Flexible Spatial Decision-Making Support Systems (FSDSS) will be that non experts can use GIS and spatial criteria with their other non spatial criteria to view solutions to multi-criteria problems that will support decision making.
Data capture—entering information into the system—consumes much of the time of GIS practitioners. There are a variety of methods used to enter data into a GIS where it is stored in a digital format.
Existing data printed on paper or PET film maps can be digitized or scanned to produce digital data. Biaxially-oriented Polyethylene terephthalate (boPET Polyester film is used for its high Tensile strength, Chemical and dimensional Stability A digitizer produces vector data as an operator traces points, lines, and polygon boundaries from a map. Scanning a map results in raster data that could be further processed to produce vector data. Historical precedent Scanners can be considered the successors of early telephotography input devices consisting of a rotating drum with a single Photodetector at
Survey data can be directly entered into a GIS from digital data collection systems on survey instruments using a technique called Coordinate Geometry (COGO). Surveying is the technique and science of accurately determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional space Position of points and the distances and angles between Analytic geometry, also called coordinate geometry and earlier referred to as Cartesian geometry or analytical geometry, is the study of Geometry Positions from a Global Positioning System (GPS), another survey tool, can also be directly entered into a GIS. Basic concept of GPS operation A GPS receiver calculates its position by carefully timing the signals sent by the constellation of GPS Satellites high above the Earth
Remotely sensed data also plays an important role in data collection and consist of sensors attached to a platform. Remote sensing is the small or large-scale acquisition of information of an object or phenomenon by the use of either recording or real-time sensing device(s that is not in physical Sensors include cameras, digital scanners and LIDAR, while platforms usually consist of aircraft and satellites. A camera is a device used to capture images either as still Photographs or as sequences of moving images ( Movies or Videos. LIDAR ( Li ght D etection a nd R anging is an optical remote sensing technology that measures properties of scattered light to find range and/or This article is about artificial satellites For natural satellites also known as moons see Natural satellite.
The majority of digital data currently comes from photo interpretation of aerial photographs. Aerial photography is the taking of Photographs of the ground from an elevated position Soft copy workstations are used to digitize features directly from stereo pairs of digital photographs. Stereoscopy, stereoscopic imaging or 3-D (three-dimensional imaging is any technique capable of recording three-dimensional visual These systems allow data to be captured in 2 and 3 dimensions, with elevations measured directly from a stereo pair using principles of photogrammetry. Photogrammetry is the first Remote sensing technology ever developed in which geometric properties about objects are determined from photographic images Currently, analog aerial photos are scanned before being entered into a soft copy system, but as high quality digital cameras become cheaper this step will be skipped.
Satellite remote sensing provides another important source of spatial data. Here satellites use different sensor packages to passively measure the reflectance from parts of the electromagnetic spectrum or radio waves that were sent out from an active sensor such as radar. The electromagnetic (EM spectrum is the range of all possible Electromagnetic radiation frequencies Radar is a system that uses electromagnetic waves to identify the range altitude direction or speed of both moving and fixed objects such as Aircraft, ships Remote sensing collects raster data that can be further processed using different bands to identify objects and classes of interest, such as land cover.
When data is captured, the user should consider if the data should be captured with either a relative accuracy or absolute accuracy, since this could not only influence how information will be interpreted but also the cost of data capture.
In addition to collecting and entering spatial data, attribute data is also entered into a GIS. For vector data, this includes additional information about the objects represented in the system.
After entering data into a GIS, the data usually requires editing, to remove errors, or further processing. For vector data it must be made "topologically correct" before it can be used for some advanced analysis. For example, in a road network, lines must connect with nodes at an intersection. Errors such as undershoots and overshoots must also be removed. For scanned maps, blemishes on the source map may need to be removed from the resulting raster. For example, a fleck of dirt might connect two lines that should not be connected.
Data restructuring can be performed by a GIS to convert data into different formats. For example, a GIS may be used to convert a satellite image map to a vector structure by generating lines around all cells with the same classification, while determining the cell spatial relationships, such as adjacency or inclusion.
More advanced data processing can occur with image processing, a technique developed in the late 1960s by NASA and the private sector to provide contrast enhancement, false colour rendering and a variety of other techniques including use of two dimensional Fourier transforms. Image processing is any form of Signal processing for which the input is an image such as photographs or frames of video the output of image processing can be either an image The National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA, ˈnæsə is an agency of the United States government, responsible for the nation's public space program This article specifically discusses Fourier transformation of functions on the Real line; for other kinds of Fourier transformation see Fourier analysis and
Since digital data are collected and stored in various ways, the two data sources may not be entirely compatible. So a GIS must be able to convert geographic data from one structure to another. Geographic data is about much more than electronic pictures of Maps The geographic data that describes our world allows for City planning, Flood prediction
A property ownership map and a soils map might show data at different scales. A map is a visual representation of an area—a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, Regions, and Themes Map information in a GIS must be manipulated so that it registers, or fits, with information gathered from other maps. Before the digital data can be analyzed, they may have to undergo other manipulations—projection and coordinate conversions, for example—that integrate them into a GIS.
The earth can be represented by various models, each of which may provide a different set of coordinates (e. g. , latitude, longitude, elevation) for any given point on the earth's surface. The simplest model is to assume the earth is a perfect sphere. As more measurements of the earth have accumulated, the models of the earth have become more sophisticated and more accurate. In fact, there are models that apply to different areas of the earth to provide increased accuracy (e. g. , North American Datum, 1927 - NAD27 - works well in North America, but not in Europe). See datum (geodesy) for more information. This article describes a concept from Surveying and Geodesy. For other meanings see Datum (disambiguation.
Projection is a fundamental component of map making. A projection is a mathematical means of transferring information from a model of the Earth, which represents a three-dimensional curved surface, to a two-dimensional medium—paper or a computer screen. A map projection is any method of representing the Surface of a sphere or other shape on a plane. Different projections are used for different types of maps because each projection particularly suits certain uses. For example, a projection that accurately represents the shapes of the continents will distort their relative sizes. See Map projection for more information. A map projection is any method of representing the Surface of a sphere or other shape on a plane.
Since much of the information in a GIS comes from existing maps, a GIS uses the processing power of the computer to transform digital information, gathered from sources with different projections and/or different coordinate systems, to a common projection and coordinate system. For images, this process is called rectification. Image rectification is a transformation process used to project multiple images onto a common image surface
It is difficult to relate wetlands maps to rainfall amounts recorded at different points such as airports, television stations, and high schools. A GIS, however, can be used to depict two- and three-dimensional characteristics of the Earth's surface, subsurface, and atmosphere from information points. For example, a GIS can quickly generate a map with isopleth or contour lines that indicate differing amounts of rainfall. A contour line (also Level set, isopleth, isoline, isogram or isarithm) of a function of two
Such a map can be thought of as a rainfall contour map. Many sophisticated methods can estimate the characteristics of surfaces from a limited number of point measurements. A two-dimensional contour map created from the surface modeling of rainfall point measurements may be overlaid and analyzed with any other map in a GIS covering the same area.
Additionally, from a series of three-dimensional points, or digital elevation model, isopleth lines representing elevation contours can be generated, along with slope analysis, shaded relief, and other elevation products. Watersheds can be easily defined for any given reach, by computing all of the areas contiguous and uphill from any given point of interest. Similarly, an expected thalweg of where surface water would want to travel in intermittent and permanent streams can be computed from elevation data in the GIS. Thalweg (ˈtɑːlvɛg an English word compounded from the German elements Thal (since Duden 's orthography reform of 1901 written Tal
In the past years, were there any gas stations or factories operating next to the swamp? Any within two miles (3 km) and uphill from the swamp? A GIS can recognize and analyze the spatial relationships that exist within digitally stored spatial data. Topology In a Geographic Information System GIS, topology is a set of rules which define the relationship between Points, Lines, and Polygons These topological relationships allow complex spatial modelling and analysis to be performed. Topological relationships between geometric entities traditionally include adjacency (what adjoins what), containment (what encloses what), and proximity (how close something is to something else).
If all the factories near a wetland were accidentally to release chemicals into the river at the same time, how long would it take for a damaging amount of pollutant to enter the wetland reserve? A GIS can simulate the routing of materials along a linear network. Values such as slope, speed limit, or pipe diameter can be incorporated into network modeling in order to represent the flow of the phenomenon more accurately. Network modelling is commonly employed in transportation planning, hydrology modeling, and infrastructure modeling. Transportation planning is the field involved with the siting of Transportation facilities (generally Streets Highways sidewalks bike lanes and Public Hydrology (from Greek Yδωρ hudōr, "water" and λόγος logos, "study" is the study of the movement distribution and quality of Infrastructure typically refers to the technical structures that support a society such as Roads Water supply, Wastewater, Power grids
The term "cartographic modeling" was (probably) coined by Dana Tomlin in his PhD dissertation and later in his book which has the term in the title. Cartographic modeling refers to a process where several thematic layers of the same area are produced, processed, and analyzed. Tomlin used raster layers, but the overlay method (see below) can be used more generally. Operations on map layers can be combined into algorithms, and eventually into simulation or optimization models.
The combination of several spatial data sets (points, lines or polygons) creates a new output vector data set, visually similar to stacking several maps of the same region. These overlays are similar to mathematical Venn diagram overlays. Venn diagrams or set diagrams are Diagrams that show all hypothetically possible Logical relations between a finite collection of sets (groups A union overlay combines the geographic features and attribute tables of both inputs into a single new output. In Set theory, the term Union (denoted as ∪ refers to a set operation used in the convergence of set elements to form a resultant set containing the elements of both sets An intersect overlay defines the area where both inputs overlap and retains a set of attribute fields for each. In Mathematics, the intersection of two sets A and B is the set that contains all elements of A that also belong to B (or equivalently A symmetric difference overlay defines an output area that includes the total area of both inputs except for the overlapping area. In Mathematics, the symmetric difference of two sets is the set of elements which are in one of the sets but not in both
Data extraction is a GIS process similar to vector overlay, though it can be used in either vector or raster data analysis. Rather than combining the properties and features of both data sets, data extraction involves using a "clip" or "mask" to extract the features of one data set that fall within the spatial extent of another data set.
In raster data analysis, the overlay of data sets is accomplished through a process known as "local operation on multiple rasters" or "map algebra," through a function that combines the values of each raster's matrix. In Mathematics, a matrix (plural matrices) is a rectangular table of elements (or entries) which may be Numbers or more generally This function may weigh some inputs more than others through use of an "index model" that reflects the influence of various factors upon a geographic phenomenon.
Digital cartography and GIS both encode spatial relationships in structured formal representations. GIS is used in digital cartography modeling as a (semi)automated process of making maps, so called Automated Cartography. In practice, it can be a subset of a GIS, within which it is equivalent to the stage of visualization, since in most cases not all of the GIS functionality is used. Cartographic products can be either in a digital or in a hardcopy format. Powerful analysis techniques with different data representation can produce high-quality maps within a short time period. The main problem in Automated Cartography is to use a single set of data to produce multiple products at a variety of scales, a technique known as Generalization. Generalization is a foundational element of Logic and human reasoning.
Geostatistics is a point-pattern analysis that produces field predictions from data points. Geostatistics evolved in Mineral exploration and mining of Minerals Ores and Coals It is currently applied in disciplines such as Petroleum Geostatistics evolved in Mineral exploration and mining of Minerals Ores and Coals It is currently applied in disciplines such as Petroleum It is a way of looking at the statistical properties of those special data. It is different from general applications of statistics because it employs the use of graph theory and matrix algebra to reduce the number of parameters in the data. Statistics is a mathematical science pertaining to the collection analysis interpretation or explanation and presentation of Data. In Mathematics and Computer science, graph theory is the study of graphs: mathematical structures used to model pairwise relations between objects In Mathematics, a matrix (plural matrices) is a rectangular table of elements (or entries) which may be Numbers or more generally Only the second-order properties of the GIS data are analyzed.
When phenomena are measured, the observation methods dictate the accuracy of any subsequent analysis. Due to the nature of the data (e. g. traffic patterns in an urban environment; weather patterns over the Pacific Ocean), a constant or dynamic degree of precision is always lost in the measurement. The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth 's Oceanic divisions This loss of precision is determined from the scale and distribution of the data collection.
To determine the statistical relevance of the analysis, an average is determined so that points (gradients) outside of any immediate measurement can be included to determine their predicted behavior. This is due to the limitations of the applied statistic and data collection methods, and interpolation is required in order to predict the behavior of particles, points, and locations that are not directly measurable.
Interpolation is the process by which a surface is created, usually a raster data set, through the input of data collected at a number of sample points. In the mathematical subfield of Numerical analysis, interpolation is a method of constructing new data points within the range of a Discrete set of There are several forms of interpolation, each which treats the data differently, depending on the properties of the data set. In comparing interpolation methods, the first consideration should be whether or not the source data will change (exact or approximate). Next is whether the method is subjective, a human interpretation, or objective. Then there is the nature of transitions between points: are they abrupt or gradual. Finally, there is whether a method is global (it uses the entire data set to form the model), or local where an algorithm is repeated for a small section of terrain.
Interpolation is a justified measurement because of a Spatial Autocorrelation Principle that recognizes that data collected at any position will have a great similarity to, or influence of those locations within its immediate vicinity.
Digital elevation models (DEM), triangulated irregular networks (TIN), Edge finding algorithms, Theissen Polygons, Fourier analysis, Weighted moving averages, Inverse Distance Weighted, Moving averages, Kriging, Spline, and Trend surface analysis are all mathematical methods to produce interpolative data. A digital elevation model ( DEM) is a Digital representation of ground Surface Topography or Terrain. A triangulated irregular network ( TIN) is a digital Data structure used in a Geographic information system (GIS for the representation of a Surface In mathematics Fourier analysis is a subject area which grew out of the study of Fourier series In Statistics, a moving average, also called a rolling average and sometimes a running average, refers to a statistical technique used to analyze a Kriging is a group of geostatistical techniques to interpolate the value of a Random field (e In the mathematical field of Numerical analysis, a spline is a special function defined Piecewise by Polynomials In interpolating
Geocoding is calculating spatial locations (X,Y coordinates) from street addresses. A reference theme is required to geocode individual addresses, such as a road centerline file with address ranges. Geocoding is the process of finding associated Geographic coordinates (often expressed as Latitude and Longitude) from other geographic data such The individual address locations are interpolated, or estimated, by examining address ranges along a road segment. These are usually provided in the form of a table or database. The GIS will then place a dot approximately where that address belongs along the segment of centerline. For example, an address point of 500 will be at the midpoint of a line segment that starts with address 1 and ends with address 1000. Geocoding can also be applied against actual parcel data, typically from municipal tax maps. In this case, the result of the geocoding will be an actually positioned space as opposed to an interpolated point.
It should be noted that there are several (potentially dangerous) caveats that are often overlooked when using interpolation. See the full entry for Geocoding for more information. Geocoding is the process of finding associated Geographic coordinates (often expressed as Latitude and Longitude) from other geographic data such
Various algorithms are used to help with address matching when the spellings of addresses differ. Address information that a particular entity or organization has data on, such as the post office, may not entirely match the reference theme. There could be variations in street name spelling, community name, etc. Consequently, the user generally has the ability to make matching criteria more stringent, or to relax those parameters so that more addresses will be mapped. Care must be taken to review the results so as not to erroneously map addresses incorrectly due to overzealous matching parameters.
Reverse geocoding is the process of returning an estimated street address number as it relates to a given coordinate. For example, a user can click on a road centerline theme (thus providing a coordinate) and have information returned that reflects the estimated house number. This house number is interpolated from a range assigned to that road segment. If the user clicks at the midpoint of a segment that starts with address 1 and ends with 100, the returned value will be somewhere near 50. Note that reverse geocoding does not return actual addresses, only estimates of what should be there based on the predetermined range.
Cartography is the design and production of maps, or visual representations of spatial data. The vast majority of modern cartography is done with the help of computers, usually using a GIS. Most GIS software gives the user substantial control over the appearance of the data.
Cartographic work serves two major functions:
First, it produces graphics on the screen or on paper that convey the results of analysis to the people who make decisions about resources. Wall maps and other graphics can be generated, allowing the viewer to visualize and thereby understand the results of analyses or simulations of potential events. Web Map Servers facilitate distribution of generated maps through web browsers using various implementations of web-based application programming interfaces(AJAX, Java, Flash, etc). An Open Geospatial Consortium Web Map Service ( WMS) produces maps of spatially referenced data dynamically from geographic information Adobe Flash (previously called Shockwave Flash and Macromedia Flash) is a set of Multimedia software created by Macromedia and currently
Second, other database information can be generated for further analysis or use. An example would be a list of all addresses within one mile (1. 6 km) of a toxic spill.
Traditional maps are abstractions of the real world, a sampling of important elements portrayed on a sheet of paper with symbols to represent physical objects. People who use maps must interpret these symbols. Topographic maps show the shape of land surface with contour lines; the actual shape of the land can be seen only in the mind's eye. A topographic map is a type of Map characterized by large-scale detail and quantitative representation of relief, usually using Contour lines in modern A contour line (also Level set, isopleth, isoline, isogram or isarithm) of a function of two
Today, graphic display techniques such as shading based on altitude in a GIS can make relationships among map elements visible, heightening one's ability to extract and analyze information. Shading refers to depicting depth in 3D models or illustrations by varying levels of Darkness. Altitude is the Elevation of a point or object from a known level or datum (plural data For example, two types of data were combined in a GIS to produce a perspective view of a portion of San Mateo County, California. San Mateo County ( "san muh-TAY-o") ( Spanish for: St California ( is a US state on the West Coast of the United States, along the Pacific Ocean.
A GIS was used to register and combine the two images to render the three-dimensional perspective view looking down the San Andreas Fault, using the Thematic Mapper image pixels, but shaded using the elevation of the landforms. Perspective (from Latin perspicere to see through in the graphic arts such as drawing is an approximate representation on a flat surface (such as paper of an image as it is perceived The San Andreas Fault is a geologic Transform fault that runs a length of roughly 800 miles (1300 km through California in the United States. The GIS display depends on the viewing point of the observer and time of day of the display, to properly render the shadows created by the sun's rays at that latitude, longitude, and time of day. Observation is either an activity of a living being (such as a Human) which senses and assimilates the Knowledge of a Phenomenon, or the recording of data
Spatial ETL tools provide the data processing functionality of traditional Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) software, but with a primary focus on the ability to manage spatial data. Spatial ETL tools provide the data processing functionality of traditional Extract Transform Load (ETL software but with a primary focus on the ability to manage spatial Extract Transform and Load ( ETL) is a process in data warehousing that involves extracting data from outside sources They provide GIS users with the ability to translate data between different standards and proprietary formats, whilst geometrically transforming the data en-route.
Geographic information can be accessed, transferred, transformed, overlaid, processed and displayed using numerous software applications. This is a list of notable GIS software applications Open source software Most Within industry commercial offerings from companies such as ESRI, Intergraph and Mapinfo dominate, offering an entire suite of tools. For the Irish Think tank, see Economic and Social Research Institute. Intergraph Corporation is a software company with 3879 employees worldwide (2008 MapInfo is also the common name of the company's main product Government and military departments often use custom software, open source products, such as GRASS, or more specialized products that meet a well defined need. GRASS GIS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System is a free, Open source Geographical information system (GIS capable of handling Raster Although free tools exist to view GIS datasets, public access to geographic information is dominated by online resources such as Google Earth and interactive web mapping. Google Earth is a Virtual globe program that was originally called Earth Viewer and was created by Keyhole Inc, a company acquired by Google in 2004
Originally up to the late 1990s, when GIS data was mostly based on large computers and used to maintain internal records, software was a stand-alone product. However with increased access to the internet and networks and demand for distributed geographic data grew, GIS software gradually changed its entire outlook to the delivery of data over a network. GIS software is now usually marketed as combination of various interoperable applications and APIs.
GIS processing software is used for the task of preparing data for use within a GIS. This transforms the raw or legacy geographic data into a format usable by GIS products. For example an aerial photograph may need to be stretched (orthorectified) using photogrammetry so that its pixels align with longitude and latitude gradations (or whatever grid is needed). Photogrammetry is the first Remote sensing technology ever developed in which geometric properties about objects are determined from photographic images This can be distinguished from the transformations done within GIS analysis software by the fact that these changes are permanent, more complex and time consuming. Thus, a specialized high-end type of software is generally used by a person skilled in Remote Sensing and / or GIS processing aspects of computer science. Remote sensing is the small or large-scale acquisition of information of an object or phenomenon by the use of either recording or real-time sensing device(s that is not in physical In addition, AutoCAD, normally used for drafts of engineering projects, can be configured for the editing of vector maps, and has some products that have migrated towards GIS use. AutoCAD is a CAD (Computer Aided Design Software application for 2D and 3D Design and drafting, developed and sold by An engineering drawing is a type of Technical drawing, used to fully and clearly define requirements for engineered items and is usually created in accordance It is especially useful as it has strong support for digitization. Raw geographic data can be edited in many standard database and spreadsheet applications and in some cases a text editor may be used as long as care is taken to properly format data.
A geodatabase is a database with extensions for storing, indexing, querying, and manipulating geographic information and spatial data. A geodatabase is a Database designed to store query and manipulate geographic information and spatial data A Computer Database is a structured collection of records or data that is stored in a computer system While some geodatabases have functions built in to allow geoprocessing the primary benefit of a geodatabase is in the "database type" capabilities that it gives to spatial data. Some of these capabilities include easy access using standard database drivers such as ODBC, the ability to easily link or join data tables, also indexing and grouping of spatial datasets independent of software platform.
GIS analysis software takes GIS data and overlays or otherwise combines it so that the data can be visually analysed. It can output a detailed map, image or movie used to communicate an idea or concept with respect to a region of interest. This is usually used by persons who are trained in cartography, geography or a GIS professional as this type of application is complex and takes some time to master. The software performs transformation on raster and vector data sometimes of differing datums, grid system, or reference system, into one coherent image. It can also analyse changes over time within a region. This software is central to the professional analysis and presentation of GIS data. Examples include the ArcGIS family of ESRI GIS applications (which replaced ESRI's older Arc/INFO), Smallworld, Civil Designer, XMap and GRASS. ArcGIS is the name of a group of Geographic information system software product lines produced by ESRI. ArcInfo (formerly called ARC/INFO) is a full-featured Geographic information system produced by ESRI, and is the highest level of licensing (and therefore Smallworld was a GIS company founded in Cambridge England in 1989 by Dick Newell and others Civil Designer is a suite of nine civil infrastructure design modules GRASS GIS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System is a free, Open source Geographical information system (GIS capable of handling Raster
GIS statistical software uses standard database queries to retrieve and analyse data for decision making. For example, if one has geographic data that includes detailed demographic information, one can determine how many individuals of a certain age, income, and ethnicity live in a given street block. The data is sometimes referenced with postal codes or street locations rather than with geodetic data. This can be used by computer scientists and statisticians with computer science skills, with an objective of characterizing an area to aid in decisions regarding marketing, social services, emergency planning, etc. Computer science (or computing science) is the study and the Science of the theoretical foundations of Information and Computation and their In popular usage "marketing" is the promotion of products especially Advertising and Branding However in professional usage the term has a wider meaning of Standard DBMS can be used or specialized GIS statistical software. A database management system ( DBMS) is Computer software designed for the purpose of managing Databases DBMSes may use any of a variety of Data models These are often housed on servers so that they can be queried with web browsers. A web browser is a software application which enables a user to display and interact with text images videos music games and other information typically located on a Examples are MySQL or ArcSDE. MySQL is a Relational database management system (RDBMS which has more than 11 million installations ArcSDE is server software by ESRI that spatially enables a Relational Database Management System.
GIS readers are computer applications that are designed to allow users to easily view digital maps as well as view and query GIS-managed data. By definition, they usually allow very little if any editing of the map or underlying map data. Readers can be normal standalone applications that need to be installed locally, though they are often designed to connect to data servers over the Internet to access the relevant information. The Internet is a global system of interconnected Computer networks Readers can also be included as an embedded application within a web page, obviating the need for local installation. Readers are designed to be relatively simple and easy to use as well as free.
GIS has seen many implementations on mobile devices. With the widespread adoption of GPS, GIS has been used to capture and integrate data in the field.
Many GIS tasks can be accomplished with free or open-source software. Open source software (OSS began as a marketing campaign for Free software.
With the broad use of non-proprietary and open data formats such as the Shape File format for vector data and the Geotiff format for raster data, as well as the adoption of OGC standards for networked servers, development of open source software continues to evolve, especially for web and web service oriented applications. Well-known open source GIS software includes GRASS GIS, Quantum GIS, MapServer, uDig, OpenJUMP, gvSIG and many others (e. GRASS GIS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System is a free, Open source Geographical information system (GIS capable of handling Raster Quantum GIS (often abbreviated to QGIS is a Free software GIS (mapping spatial analysis etc MapServer is an Open source development environment for building spatially-enabled internet applications uDig is a GIS software program produced by a community led by Canadian-based consulting company Refractions Research. Features a Java based vector GIS and programming framework platform independent ( Windows, Linux, Unix, Macintosh gvSIG is a multilingual Open source Geographic information system (GIS that can handle both vector and raster data g. , see OSGeo or MapTools).
Much open source GIS development has focused on the creation of libraries that provide functionality for third party applications. Such libraries include GDAL/OGR, and GeoTools. GDAL (Geospatial Data Abstraction Library is a library for reading and writing raster geospatial data formats, and is released under an X/MIT GeoTools is a Free software ( LGPL) GIS toolkit for developing standards compliant solutions These libraries are used by open source and commercial software alike to provide basic functionality.
PostGIS provides an open source alternative to geodatabases such as Oracle Spatial, and ArcSDE. PostGIS (/post'-jis/ is an open source Geographic information system software program that adds support for geographic objects to the PostgreSQL object-relational Oracle Spatial forms a separately-licensed option component of the Oracle Database. ArcSDE is server software by ESRI that spatially enables a Relational Database Management System.
A database model of a network of roads and related features is a form of GIS data that is used for vehicle navigation systems. Such a map database is a vector representation of a given road network including road geometry (segment shape), network topology (connectivity) and related attributes (addresses, road class, etc). Geographic Data Files (GDF) is an ISO standard for formulating map databases for navigation. Geographic Data Files or GDF is an interchange File format for geographic files An Automotive navigation system will combine map-matching, GPS coordinates, and Dead reckoning to estimate the position of the vehicle. An automotive navigation system is a satellite navigation system designed for use in Automobiles. Basic concept of GPS operation A GPS receiver calculates its position by carefully timing the signals sent by the constellation of GPS Satellites high above the Earth Dead reckoning ( DR) is the process of estimating one's current position based upon a previously determined position or fix, and advancing that position based upon The map database is also used for route planning and guidance, and possibly advanced functions involving active safety, driver assistance and location-based services. Maintenance of databases for vehicle navigation is discussed in the article Map database management. Map database management stems from navigation units becoming more common in automotive vehicles (see Automotive navigation system)
Many disciplines can benefit from GIS technology. GeaBios is a free (non-profit “Slovene Citizen Oriented Information Service” and the name stands for G eo E nabled A nd B etter I An Open Geospatial Consortium Web Map Service ( WMS) produces maps of spatially referenced data dynamically from geographic information The Open Geospatial Consortium Web Feature Service Interface Standard ( WFS) provides an interface allowing requests for geographical features Adobe Flash (previously called Shockwave Flash and Macromedia Flash) is a set of Multimedia software created by Macromedia and currently Dynamic HTML, or DHTML, is a collection of technologies used together to create interactive and animated Web sites by using a combination of a static Markup An active GIS market has resulted in lower costs and continual improvements in the hardware and software components of GIS. These developments will, in turn, result in a much wider use of the technology throughout science, government, business, and industry, with applications including real estate, public health, crime mapping, national defense, sustainable development, natural resources, landscape architecture, archaeology, regional and community planning, transportation and logistics. A business (also called firm or an enterprise) is a legally recognized organizational entity designed to provide goods and/or services to For other uses of this term see Industry (disambiguation An industry (from Latin industrius, "diligent industrious" Real estate is a legal term (in some jurisdictions notably in the USA, United Kingdom Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease prolonging life and promoting health through the organised efforts and informed choices of society organisations Crime mapping is used by analysts in law enforcement agencies to map visualize and analyze crime incident patterns Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present Natural resources are naturally occurring substances that are considered valuable in their relatively unmodified ( natural) form Archaeology, archeology, or archæology (from Greek grc ἀρχαιολογία archaiologia – grc ἀρχαῖος archaīos GIS is also diverging into location-based services (LBS). A location-based service (LBS is an information and entertainment service accessible with mobile devices through the mobile network and utilizing the ability to make use of the geographical LBS allows GPS enabled mobile devices to display their location in relation to fixed assets (nearest restaurant, gas station, fire hydrant), mobile assets (friends, children, police car) or to relay their position back to a central server for display or other processing. These services continue to develop with the increased integration of GPS functionality with increasingly powerful mobile electronics (cell phones, PDAs, laptops).
Distributed GIS concerns itself with GI Systems that do not have all of the system components in the same physical location. Distributed GIS concerns itself with GI Systems that do not have all of the system components in the same physical location This could be the processing, the database, the rendering or the user interface. Examples of distributed systems are web-based GIS, Mobile GIS, Corporate GIS and GRID computing.
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international industry consortium of 334 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geoprocessing specifications. The Open Geospatial Consortium ( OGC) is an international voluntary consensus Standards organization. The Open Geospatial Consortium ( OGC) is an international voluntary consensus Standards organization. Open interfaces and protocols defined by OpenGIS Specifications support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT, and empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful with all kinds of applications. Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) protocols include Web Map Service (WMS) and Web Feature Service (WFS). An Open Geospatial Consortium Web Map Service ( WMS) produces maps of spatially referenced data dynamically from geographic information The Open Geospatial Consortium Web Feature Service Interface Standard ( WFS) provides an interface allowing requests for geographical features
GIS products are broken down by the OGC into two categories, based on how completely and accurately the software follows the OGC specifications.
Compliant Products are software products that comply to OGC's OpenGIS Specifications. When a product has been tested and certified as compliant through the OGC Testing Program, the product is automatically registered as "compliant" on this site.
Implementing Products are software products that implement OpenGIS Specifications but have not yet passed a compliance test. Compliance tests are not available for all specifications. Developers can register their products as implementing draft or approved specifications, though OGC reserves the right to review and verify each entry.
In recent years there has been an explosion of mapping applications on the web such as Google Maps and Live Maps. Web mapping is the process of designing implementing generating and delivering maps on the World Wide Web. Google Maps (for a time named Google Local) is a free Web mapping service application and technology provided by Google that powers many map-based services Live Search Maps (previously Windows Live Maps and Windows Live Local) is a Web mapping service provided as a part of Microsoft 's Windows These websites give the public access to huge amounts of geographic data.
Some of them, like Google Maps and OpenLayers, expose an API that enable users to create custom applications. These toolkits commonly offer street maps, aerial/satellite imagery, geocoding, searches, and routing functionality.
Other applications for publishing geographic information on the web include MapInfo's MapXtreme, Intergraph's GeoMedia WebMap (TM), ESRI's ArcIMS, ArcGIS Server, AutoDesk's Mapguide, SeaTrails' AtlasAlive, and the open source MapServer. Intergraph Corporation is a software company with 3879 employees worldwide (2008 Geomedia is the suite of software components in Intergraph Corporation's Geographic information system (GIS For the Irish Think tank, see Economic and Social Research Institute. ArcIMS (standing for Arc Internet Map Server) is a Web Map Server produced by ESRI. MapServer is an Open source development environment for building spatially-enabled internet applications
In recent years web mapping services have begun to adopt features more common in GIS. Services such as Google Maps and Live Maps allow users to annotate maps and share the maps with others. Google Maps (for a time named Google Local) is a free Web mapping service application and technology provided by Google that powers many map-based services Live Search Maps (previously Windows Live Maps and Windows Live Local) is a Web mapping service provided as a part of Microsoft 's Windows Conversely, GIS vendors have also created web mapping systems such as ESRI's WebADF that adopt much of the usability and speed of consumer web mapping web sites. For the Irish Think tank, see Economic and Social Research Institute.
Maps have traditionally been used to explore the Earth and to exploit its resources. GIS technology, as an expansion of cartographic science, has enhanced the efficiency and analytic power of traditional mapping. Now, as the scientific community recognizes the environmental consequences of human activity, GIS technology is becoming an essential tool in the effort to understand the process of global change. Various map and satellite information sources can combine in modes that simulate the interactions of complex natural systems.
Through a function known as visualization, a GIS can be used to produce images - not just maps, but drawings, animations, and other cartographic products. These images allow researchers to view their subjects in ways that literally never have been seen before. The images are often invaluable for conveying the technical concepts of GIS study subjects to non-scientists.
The condition of the Earth's surface, atmosphere, and subsurface can be examined by feeding satellite data into a GIS. GIS technology gives researchers the ability to examine the variations in Earth processes over days, months, and years.
As an example, the changes in vegetation vigor through a growing season can be animated to determine when drought was most extensive in a particular region. The resulting graphic, known as a normalized vegetation index, represents a rough measure of plant health. Working with two variables over time would then allow researchers to detect regional differences in the lag between a decline in rainfall and its effect on vegetation.
GIS technology and the availability of digital data on regional and global scales enable such analyses. The satellite sensor output used to generate a vegetation graphic is produced by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR). The Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR is a space-borne sensor embarked on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA family of polar orbiting platforms This sensor system detects the amounts of energy reflected from the Earth's surface across various bands of the spectrum for surface areas of about 1 square kilometer. The satellite sensor produces images of a particular location on the Earth twice a day. AVHRR is only one of many sensor systems used for Earth surface analysis. More sensors will follow, generating ever greater amounts of data.
GIS and related technology will help greatly in the management and analysis of these large volumes of data, allowing for better understanding of terrestrial processes and better management of human activities to maintain world economic vitality and environmental quality.
In addition to the integration of time in environmental studies, GIS is also being explored for its ability to track and model the progress of humans throughout their daily routines. A concrete example of progress in this area is the recent release of time-specific population data by the US Census. The United States Census is a decennial Census mandated by the United States Constitution. In this data set, the populations of cities are shown for daytime and evening hours highlighting the pattern of concentration and dispersion generated by North American commuting patterns. The manipulation and generation of data required to produce this data would not have been possible without GIS.
Using models to project the data held by a GIS forward in time have enabled planners to test policy decisions. These systems are known as Spatial Decision Support Systems. Spatial Decision Support Systems (sDSS developed in parallel with the concept of Decision Support Systems (DSS
Tools and technologies emerging from the W3C's Semantic Web Activity are proving useful for data integration problems in information systems. The Semantic Web is an evolving extension of the World Wide Web in which the Semantics of information and services on the web is defined making it possible for the Data integration is the process of combining Data residing at different sources and providing the user with a unified view of these data. Correspondingly, such technologies have been proposed as a means to facilitate interoperability and data reuse among GIS applications  and also to enable new analysis mechanisms . Interoperability is a property referring to the ability of diverse systems and organizations to work together (inter-operate
Ontologies are a key component of this semantic approach as they allow a formal, machine-readable specification of the concepts and relationships in a given domain. An ontology in both Computer science and Information science is a formal representation of a set of concepts within a domain and the relationships between This in turn allows a GIS to focus on the meaning of data rather than its syntax or structure. For example, reasoning that a land cover type classified as Deciduous Needleleaf Trees in one dataset is a specialization of land cover type Forest in another more roughly-classified dataset can help a GIS automatically merge the two datasets under the more general land cover classification. Reasoning is the cognitive process of looking for Reasons for beliefs conclusions actions or feelings Very deep and comprehensive ontologies have been developed in areas related to GIS applications, for example the Hydrology Ontology developed by the Ordnance Survey in the United Kingdom and the SWEET ontologies developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Ordnance Survey (OS is an Executive agency of the United Kingdom government The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located The National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA, ˈnæsə is an agency of the United States government, responsible for the nation's public space program Also, simpler ontologies and semantic metadata standards are being proposed by the W3C Geo Incubator Group to represent geospatial data on the web.
Recent research results in this area can be seen in the International Conference on Geospatial Semantics and the Terra Cognita -- Directions to the Geospatial Semantic Web workshop at the International Semantic Web Conference.
With the popularization of GIS in decision making, scholars have began to scrutinize the social implications of GIS. Neogeography literally means "new geography" and is commonly applied to the usage of geographical techniques and tools used for personal and community activities or for utilization Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS was born as a term in 1996 at the meetings of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA It has been argued that the production, distribution, utilization, and representation of geographic information are largely related with the social context. For example, some scholars are concerned that GIS may turn into a tool of omni-surveillance for dictatorship. Other related topics include discussion on copyright, privacy, and censorship. A more optimistic social approach to GIS adoption is to use it as a tool for public participation.
IGRS-GIS Institute of Geoinformatics & Remote Sensing