A geographic information system (GIS) is a type of database containing geographic data (that is, descriptions of phenomena for which location is relevant), combined with software tools for managing, analyzing, and visualizing those data. In a broader sense, one may consider such a system to also include human users and support staff, procedures and workflows, body of knowledge of relevant concepts and methods, and institutional organizations.
The uncounted plural, geographic information systems, also abbreviated GIS, is the most common term for the industry and profession concerned with these systems. It is roughly synonymous with geoinformatics and part of the broader geospatial field, which also includes GPS, remote sensing, etc. Geographic information science, the academic discipline that studies these systems and their underlying geographic principles, may also be abbreviated as GIS, but the unambiguous GIScience is more common. GIScience is often considered a subdiscipline of geography within the branch of technical geography.
Geographic information systems are utilized in multiple technologies, processes, techniques and methods. They are attached to various operations and numerous applications, that relate to: engineering, planning, management, transport/logistics, insurance, telecommunications, and business. For this reason, GIS and location intelligence applications are at the foundation of location-enabled services, which rely on geographic analysis and visualization.
While digital GIS dates to the mid-1960s, when Roger Tomlinson first coined the phrase "geographic information system", many of the geographic concepts and methods that GIS automates date back decades earlier.
CGIS was an improvement over "computer mapping" applications as it provided capabilities for data storage, 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 a large 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 datasets. The CGIS was never available commercially.
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 CAD program, and geo-referencing capabilities. With the wide availability of ortho-rectified imagery (from satellites, aircraft, Helikites and UAVs), 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 by the traditional method of tracing the geographic form on a separate digitizing tablet (heads-down digitizing). Heads-down digitizing, or manual digitizing, uses a special magnetic pen, or stylus, that feeds information into a computer to create an identical, digital map. Some tablets use a mouse-like tool, called a puck, instead of a stylus. The puck has a small window with cross-hairs which allows for greater precision and pinpointing map features. Though heads-up digitizing is more commonly used, heads-down digitizing is still useful for digitizing maps of poor quality.
In developing a digital topographic database for a GIS, topographical maps are the main source, and aerial photography and satellite imagery are extra sources for collecting data and identifying attributes which can be mapped in layers over a location facsimile of scale. The scale of a map and geographical rendering area representation type, or map projection, are very important aspects since the information content depends mainly on the scale set and resulting locatability of the map's representations. In order to digitize a map, the map has to be checked within theoretical dimensions, then scanned into a raster format, and resulting raster data has to be given a theoretical dimension by a rubber sheeting/warping technology process known as georeferencing.
Geoprocessing is a GIS operation used to manipulate spatial data. A typical geoprocessing operation takes an input dataset, performs an operation on that dataset, and returns the result of the operation as an output dataset. Common geoprocessing operations include geographic feature overlay, feature selection and analysis, topology processing, raster processing, and data conversion. Geoprocessing allows for definition, management, and analysis of information used to form decisions.
It is difficult to relate wetlands maps to rainfall amounts recorded at different points such as airports, television stations, and 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. 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. This GIS derived map can then provide additional information - such as the viability of water power potential as a renewable energy source. Similarly, GIS can be used to compare other renewable energy resources to find the best geographic potential for a region.
In recent years there has been a proliferation of free-to-use and easily accessible mapping software such as the proprietary web applications Google Maps and Bing Maps, as well as the free and open-source alternative OpenStreetMap. These services give the public access to huge amounts of geographic data, perceived by many users to be as trustworthy and usable as professional information.
Some of them, like Google Maps and OpenLayers, expose an application programming interface (API) that enable users to create custom applications. These toolkits commonly offer street maps, aerial/satellite imagery, geocoding, searches, and routing functionality. Web mapping has also uncovered the potential of crowdsourcing geodata in projects like OpenStreetMap, which is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. These mashup projects have been proven to provide a high level of value and benefit to end users outside that possible through traditional geographic information.
With the popularization of GIS in decision making, scholars have begun to scrutinize the social and political implications of GIS. GIS can also be misused to distort reality for individual and political gain. It has been argued that the production, distribution, utilization, and representation of geographic information are largely related with the social context and has the potential to increase citizen trust in government. 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.
AbstractIs GIS a tool or a science? The question is clearly important in the day-to-day operations of geography departments that need to distinguish betweenGIS as a tool to be taught at the undergraduate level, or a science and thus alegitimate research specialty of faculty and graduate students. Wesummarize a debate on this which occurred on the GIS-L electroniclistserver in late 1993. In evaluating this discussion it became clear thatGIS could be understood not by the two distinct positions taken by theGIS-L discussants but as three positions along a continuum from tool toscience, focusing on the several meanings attached to "doing GIS" ratherthan to GIS alone. These are: 1) GIS as tool, involving the use of aparticular class of software, associated hardware tools, and digitalgeographic data in order to advance some specific purpose; 2) GIS astoolmaking, involving the advancement of the tool's capability andease of use; and 3) the science of GIS, concerning the analysis of thefundamental issues raised by the use of GIS. Recognizing the importanceof understanding what is meant by "doing science," as well as what ismeant by "doing GIS," we conclude that only one position, "thescience of GIS," is found to provide a sufficient condition for science. The debate iscertainly problematic in light of the variety of perspectives on science andon GIS. The persistence of the issue suggests, however, that the GIScommunity should continue to work toward a resolution.Key Words: GIS-L, nature and philosophy of science,nature of geographic information systems, geographic information science,geographic thought.
Three months after the first reported cases, COVID-19 had spread to nearly 90% of World Health Organization (WHO) member states and only 24 countries had not reported cases as of 30 March 2020. This analysis aimed to 1) assess characteristics, capability to detect and monitor COVID-19, and disease control measures in these 24 countries, 2) understand potential factors for the reported delayed COVID-19 introduction, and 3) identify gaps and opportunities for outbreak preparedness, particularly in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). We collected and analyzed publicly available information on country characteristics, COVID-19 testing, influenza surveillance, border measures, and preparedness activities in these countries. We also assessed the association between the temporal spread of COVID-19 in all countries with reported cases with globalization indicator and geographic location. 2b1af7f3a8