What is GIS?

Geographic information systems (GIS) technology is a computerized framework for gathering, managing, and analyzing data. Built upon the science of geography, it combines powerful mapping and visualization with a strong data integration, analysis, and modeling framework.

GIS is rooted in science and integrates many types of data. It uses spatial location to organize information into layers on geographic visualizations, such as maps. With this unique capability, GIS reveals deeper insights into data, such as patterns, relationships, and situations—helping users make smarter decisions.

In fact, the true power of GIS lies in the ability to perform analysis. Through spatial analysis, problems are modeled geographically, examined, and explored. Maps and data serve as the underpinnings of GIS and provide unbiased, authoritative perspectives for solving a wide range of life’s challenges.

Depending on circumstance, objectives, and organizations, data can be recorded or quantified in countless way. GIS helps overcome these differences through its unique capability to integrate most data sets. It organizes the content of our world by using spatial location and digital map overlays to integrate and analyze relationships among all types of data.

Beyond converting information into intelligence, GIS has the extraordinary potential to connect people across organizations and the world through a common visual language. Today thousands of organizations in virtually every field use GIS to solve complex problems. When data-driven maps are used to communicate, perform analysis, share information, and address challenges, they literally change the way the world works.

Watch this short video to learn more about what a GIS is.