What does GIS stand for and What Can They Tell Us

A Geographic Information System GIS is a computer system that analyzes and displays geographically referenced information. It uses data that’s attached to a singular location.

GIS is employed in earth sciences, biology, resource management, and plenty of other fields. The reality is that it can do lots of things, but an extremely simple answer is: A GIS allows you to visualize your data as a map.


The field of geographic information systems (GIS) started in the 1960s alongside the computer and early concepts of quantitative and computational geography. Roger Tomlinson developed the first computerized GIS in the world in 1963. He created the Canada Geographic Information System for automated computing to store and process large amounts of data, which enabled Canada to begin its national land-use management program. He also gave GIS its name.

What is GIS?

Geographic Information Systems are a combination of computer hardware, software, and procedures designed to support the capture, management, analysis, modeling, and display of geographically referenced data. GIS as a sophisticated computer-based mapping and information retrieval system consists of three primary components:

  • A powerful computer graphic program that is used to draw maps, color tables, and other graphic components
  • One or more external databases that are linked to the objects shown on the maps. This linkage permits changes entered into the database to be immediately displayed on the maps and querying of the database directly from the map.
  • A set of analysis tools that can be used to graphically interpret the externally stored data; for example, by showing objects or regions that need certain criteria in different colors or shadings. A GIS must have all three components tightly integrated to be a good computer system.

GIS gives people the power to form their digital map layers to solve real-world problems. It has evolved into a way for data sharing and collaboration. Thousands of organizations are sharing their work and creating maps daily. These maps tell stories and reveal patterns and trends. GIS uses location to relate these seemingly unrelated data.

GIS allows us to ask complex questions. They can give us answers to questions instantly by modifying colors, and shapes, or highlighting locations on the map. GIS technology allows different types of information to be overlaid on top of one another on a single map.

Who Uses GIS?

Geographical Information Systems technology can be used for scientific investigation, resource management, development planning, or for anyone who needs to interpret or display large quantities of data on a spatial or geographic basis. Frequent GIS users include:”


for tracking land usage, utilities, real state parcels, and for emergency response planning in case of natural disasters.” Businesses: for interpreting demographic data.


for depicting the distribution of geological formations, soils, plants, and animals; and for the analysis and study of substance concentration at different atmospheric levels: troposphere, stratosphere, and mesosphere; temperature changes; light reflection, and many other natural changes.

All these people have been using GIS since 1980 when the first commercial systems became available. But the variety of systems was limited until the advent of powerful and relatively low-cost computers in the late 1980s. Then, there was greater access to specialized software and data from large mainframe computers, so more people started using GISs for several applications. Since then, many others GISs have been developed and people in different workplaces use them every day.

GIS Uses

GIS has infinite uses. The government uses GIS technology to better manage public safety, parks and recreation, public works, and utilities. GIS is used to help with school analytical and demographic data, asset management, and improvement/expansion planning. Public administration for election GIS data, property records, and zoning/management also utilize GIS technology.

This mapping and analysis of different types of data can be used to advance science and help in almost every industry. GIS gives users a visual tool to help them understand patterns, relationships, and geographic context. When information is fully understood, this leads to improved communication, better management, and decision-making.

An example of GIS technology in action would be a single map that includes sites that produce pollution (such as factories) and sites that are particularly sensitive to pollution (such as a body of water). The map could help determine which water supplies are at the highest risk for pollution.

GIS is a useful platform that is being integrated into our daily lives. Maps provide a visual way to communicate a large amount of information from different sources all in one place. It can be used to make connections between two seemingly unrelated data points to give researchers important insight. GIS will play an important role in how we understand and address issues such as pollution, rising sea levels, and loss of nature.


GIS gives us a way to visualize how a lot of seemingly unrelated data is interacting. It was invented as a land-use management tool and is used today in our daily lives. The government uses GIS for many of its programs including road management and water safety. The future holds infinite possibilities for GIS to improve our world.