Geographic Information Systems (GIS) synthesize spatial theory, methods, and technologies in order to study and map geographic interrelationships, distributions, networks, temporal change, and other spatially aware information in order to better understand and manage limited earth resources.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
A comprehensive system for managing spatial data, with an integrated set of tools for querying, analyzing, and displaying that information. Some important classes of GIS tools include those that support:
- Logical map overlay, integrating multi-layer data sources in an analysis
- Proximity analysis and spatial buffering
- Network analysis (e.g. of roads or streams)
- Geocoding and address-matching
- Three-dimensional surface modeling
GIS technology is rapidly gaining popularity as a means of dealing with all sorts of information stored on maps.
Remote Sensing (RS)
Analysis of the Earth's surface and interpretation of its features using imagery collected from air or space platforms. Image processing methods use visible and nonvisible (e.g. ultraviolet and infrared) parts of the electromagnetic spectrum to interpret land cover patterns of vegetation, soil, land use, and environmental systems, including up-to-the-minute changes in these systems. With new satellite platforms going up every year, along with the rapid development of drone-based technology, Remote Sensing is becoming an essential tool for geographic information scientists.
Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)
Provides a means for determining location on the Earth's surface using a constellation of satellites and the technology necessary for interpreting their signals. Field data collection for GIS and Remote Sensing projects is increasingly dependent on GNSS technology.
The art and science of making maps. An important methodological arena for geographic information scientists is communicating the results of studies. Cartographical theories and methods focus on information content, symbolization, and design to get the correct message across.