Related GIS Links
Department of Fish & Wildlife
Biogeographic Data Branch
1807 13th Street, Suite 202
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 322-2493 • Email BDB
What Is GIS?
The question "What is GIS?" is often posed to GIS Professionals, and we usually have a hard time answering it in a satisfactory way.
We often end up saying "It's computerized mapping", or "It's a combination of computerized mapping and databases", or something along those lines. To do it justice, you need to go a bit deeper. Here's one definition:
GIS is spatial data management and mapping. It provides a way to collect, manage, analyze, and display data with a spatial/geographic dimension. It allows us to view, understand, interpret and question data in ways that are just not available when looking at data in a table, and this can often reveal otherwise unnoticed relationships, patterns and trends. This is critical in Natural Resource Management and many other fields, as the "where" element is often a very significant component.
Here are a few pages with additional definitions of GIS:
And here's an additional page with some interesting links, including an historic timeline of mapping and GIS: