GIS stands for "geographic information system" and refers to computer mapping tools and resources. When digital information is geographically referenced (meaning that the information is linked to specific places on the earth, using a system such as Latitude/Longitude) it can be used to create map layers as well as to perform analyses and even model hypothetical situations ("what if?" scenarios). GIS has been used by the defense, natural resources, and planning communities for many years, and is now being used by many more sectors including transportation, marketing, utilities, emergency management, sales, and education, to name just a few.
If you would like more information about how GIS works and how people use GIS, visit these web sites:
- According to National Geographic...
- A neat US Geological Survey site about GIS (and how Cro-Magnon hunters used GIS!)
- A website about GIS sponsored by the British Ordnance Survey
- "What is GIS" page at the ESRI web site
If you would like to start using GIS, visit these sites:
- VCGI's online VT Interactive Map Viewer gives you access to a dynamic "Basemap" of VT - you zoom in to your area of interest and turn map layers on and off! Click here to use the VT Interactive Map Viewer
- ESRI's ArcGIS Online offers a free online mapping application. Click here to set up a free account and start using it.
- Quantum GIS is a free and open source desktop GIS program. Click here to download and start using it.
- List of GIS software
- Link to VCGI Education and Training page for links to professional development, training, and higher education opportunities.