what is a geographic information system (GIS)

GIS is the abbreviation of geographic or geographical information systems. It is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and displays geographic data in order to provide solutions to real-world problems and help in planning for the future. GIS is a very important emerging technology. In this article first section is discussing how locations can be very important from stone ages to the modern world.

Definition of GIS by ESRI

“A geographic information system (GIS) is a framework for gathering, managing, and analyzing data. GIS come from geography, it integrates different types of dataset. It is designed to analyzed spatial locations and organizes series of information into visualization using 3D scenes, maps, and Web dashboards. GIS has unique capabilities, it reveals deeper insights into different dataset such as patterns, relationships, and situations to make smarter decisions.” ESRI

“Geographic information system(GIS) is a powerful set of tools for collecting, storing, retrieving at will, transforming and displaying spatial data from the real world for a particular set of purposes” Burrough (1998)

Definition of GIS in Geography

“GIS stands for Geographical Information System and GIS is known as an integrated tool, capable of doing multi-tasking like mapping, analyzing, manipulating, modifying storing and redefining geographical data in order to provide solutions to real world problems and help in planning for the future and share with the whole world.” (GIS in Geography by Ghulam Hasnain)

GIS is an advancement of Geography “the study of the Earth, its features, its inhabitants, and its phenomena”. It is most powerful tool for mapping and displaying data, its analysis and modeling framework. Geographic Information System (GIS) is considering as a Science. It is categorized as a “computer science” and integrates many types of datasets. The main power of GIS lies in performing spatial analysis. Though spatial analysis problems are geographically modeled examined carefully and explored the solutions.

It uses spatial location (Longitudes and latitudes) to organize information into layers on geographic visualizations, such as maps. According to circumstance, objectives, and organizations needs data can be recorded or quantified in a countless way. With this unique capability, GIS reveals deeper insights into data, such as patterns, relationships, and helping users make smarter decisions. In GIS x, y, and z coordinates representing, longitude, latitude, and elevation, respectively. All geospatial–temporal locations and extent references should be related to one another and ultimately to a “real” physical location or extent.

History of GIS

I love geography because “Homer” writes about physical geography in his poetry. Geographical importance is linked to spatial locations of objects on the earth surface. So it is one of the ancient things that are still very popular. Long times ago, maps were developed by using bamboo sticks, bones, and leather of animals. In the mid-20th century, the computer machine was invented and it encourages shifting of manual geographical phenomena to digital geographic format.

Geographic information systems (GIS) started in the 1960s as computers and early concepts of quantitative and computational geography emerged. In starting, GIS was utilized by academics community for important researches. Later on, it followed by the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, led by Michael Goodchild, and formalized research on key geographic information science topics such as spatial analysis and visualization. All these efforts fueled a quantitative revolution in the world of spatial sciences and laid the groundwork for Geographic information system

GIS industry is growing at a rapid speed.  Its values in 2016 were 8.9 billion and its values increased up to $88.3 billion by 2020. Its major areas include satellite navigation, 3D scanning, Urban Planning, and Geo-Intelligence. The researchers also concluded that it become trillion $ industry in next five due to advance in Artificial intelligence and Robotics that purely work on spatial data

Types of GIS

Many people think GIS is just a tool and don’t have and branch of GIS. But it isn’t true, on the basis of major applications GIS is divided into three types. 

Four-dimensional GIS

Everyone what is Three-dimensional GIS, do you know it is Four-dimensional system. The spatial-temporal geographical representation can handle two dimensions of space and one dimension of time. While in 4-dimensional GIS three dimensions are designed for space and the fourth one for the time.

The 4D-GIS technology deploys a GIS-based algorithm used to determine the location of a moving target through registering the terrain image obtained from a Moving Target Indication (MTI) sensor or small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) camera with the digital map from GIS.


In today era, World Wide Web (WWW) dominant in every field of life even GIS adopted web culture too. Web GIS is a hybrid technology of worldwide web and Geographic information system. Vast usage of Internet services encourages developing a new forms of geographic data representation on the web. Web GIS works as an online mapping platform where multiple user interact with maps from all over the globe. Web GIS provide platform freedom to the user, now they access GIS maps, apply advanced geographic information using their desktops, the web, tablets, and Smartphone’s.

Virtual Reality GIS

Virtual Reality GIS also called VRGIS is an advance technology and many people consider it the future of GIS technology. Virtual reality becomes reality in 1996 and after 3 years it started using location and research on VRGIS to make it future technology.  The purpose to developed VRGIS is to allow the creation, manipulation and exploration of geo-referenced virtual environments, using Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML). It can be web based and application based. 3D simulation for planning with different scenarios is a real-time example of VRGIS.

Real-time GIS

Real time GIS is an amazing technology that uses very extensively in today world. Rea time positioning system gain popularity after the availability of cost-effective mobile telecommunications. The advancement in telecommunication sector makes it possible to develop real-time GIS that monitor, transmit, record and analyze the movement of mobile agents such as vehicles, people or animals (telegeomonitoring)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *