Are you doing GIS research? Have you ever considered that your research might have a spatial perspective or angle that you would like to investigate? This research guide provides a great starting point for learning more about the GIS and geospatial resources available to you while at UCI
The UCI Libraries provides access to a diverse set of software, data, tools, databases, and other research support for GIS and geospatial research.
A geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data. The key word to this technology is Geography – this means that some portion of the data is spatial. In other words, data that is in some way referenced to locations on the earth.
Coupled with this data is usually tabular data known as attribute data. Attribute data can be generally defined as additional information about each of the spatial features. An example of this would be schools. The actual location of the schools is the spatial data. Additional data such as the school name, level of education taught, student capacity would make up the attribute data.
It is the partnership of these two data types that enables GIS to be such an effective problem solving tool through spatial analysis.
GIS is more than just software. People and methods are combined with geospatial software and tools, to enable spatial analysis, manage large datasets, and display information in a map/graphical form.
- Extracted (in part) from a 1999 GIS Lounge post by Caitlin Dempsey
GIS was originally developed as an extension of the use and analysis of the traditional paper map. The most basic form of digital map data represents the same types of data that are displayed on paper maps. Digital maps use the same measurement frameworks, and frequently also use the same representation methods (e.g., colors, classification schemes) used on paper maps.
So why have a GIS instead of using paper maps? There are many reasons, of which these are but a few:
What can GIS do?
The uses of GIS are just beginning to be explored. Although GIS has been put to great use up to the present, we expect to see an explosion in the use and application of GIS in the near and distant future. Here is another list of just a few of the things GIS can do: