Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

What is GIS?

GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems and is a tool that allows data scientists to create custom maps and perform geospatial analyses to help make smarter decisions. It is a constantly-evolving blend of data, technology, analytical tools, and expertise. GIS can be used in a multitude of ways to examine patterns across geography and time. Examples of when you might use GIS include modeling the spread of forest fires, where to build a new health care facility in a community, and where to choose a study site for specimen sampling. The possibilities are limitless and the capacity to innovate with GIS technologies is always growing.

For a visual depiction of what is GIS, see this StoryMap ( below by Richard Harris from the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol:


Starting a GIS project

Starting your GIS project and not sure where to begin? See the following resources to help kick off your project (these guides can be applicable to many disciplines):

Other definitions