WHAT IS GIS?A Geographic Information System (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts.

A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared.

GIS technology can be integrated into any enterprise information system framework.

GIS is computer software that links that links geographic information (where things are) with descriptive information (what things are). Unlike a flat paper map, where what you see is what you get, GIS can present many layers of different information.

To use a paper map, all you do is unfold it. Spread out before you is a representation of cities and roads, mountains and rivers, railroads, and political boundaries. The cities are represented by little dots or circles, the roads by black lines, the mountain peaks by tiny triangles, and the lakes by small blue areas similar to the real lakes.

A GIS-based map is not much more difficult to use than a paper map. As on the paper map, there are dots or points that represent features on the map such as cities, lines that represent features such as roads, ArcMap layersand small areas that represent features such as lakes.
All this information—where the point is located, how long the road is, and even how many square miles a lake occupies—is stored as layers in digital format as a pattern of ones and zeros in a computer.

Think of this geographic data as layers of information within the computer screen. Each layer represents a particular theme or feature of the map. One theme could be made up of all the roads in an area. Another theme could represent all the lakes in the same area. Yet another could represent all the cities.

These themes can be laid on top of one another, creating a stack of information about the same geographic area. Each layer can be turned off and on, as if you were peeling a layer off the stack or placing it back on. You control the amount of information about an area that you want to see, at any time, on any specific map.

[Source: www.esri.com]

GIS pages are created by Viktoriya Yakymenko