"Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things"
- Waldo Tobler, First Law of Geography
What is GIS?
GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems. But what exactly does that mean?
A common misconception is that GIS is synonymous with 'mapping', or making maps. This is, at best, an incomplete understanding of the term.
As a concept, GIS is the linkage of spatial information (where things are) with description information (what things are). It is a way to represent objects and conditions in the real world, such as the location of fire hydrants or rainfall precipitation over time in a given area.
As an application, GIS is a computer system that:
- and presents geospatial data.
What is Geospatial Data?
Geospatial data are data with a spatial component. This means the data references a unique location. Much of the data we work with today contains some sort of spatial reference. Geospatial data includes GPS data, LiDAR data, satellite and aerial imagery, as well as data corresponding to a particular address or set of coordinates.
A GIS can help you store, manage, analyze and share geospatial data.
Geospatial data is typically split into two general categories: