Geographic Information System (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate,
analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data. The acronym GIS is sometimes
used for geographical information science or geospatial information studies to refer
to the academic discipline or career of working with geographic information systems
and is a large domain within the broader academic discipline of Geoinformatics.
A GIS can be thought of as a system that provides spatial data entry, management,
retrieval, analysis, and visualization functions. The implementation of a GIS is
often driven by jurisdictional (such as a city), purpose, or application requirements.
Generally, a GIS implementation may be custom-designed for an organization. Hence,
a GIS deployment developed for an application, jurisdiction, enterprise, or purpose
may not be necessarily interoperable or compatible with a GIS that has been developed
for some other application, jurisdiction, enterprise, or purpose. What goes beyond
a GIS is a spatial data infrastructure, a concept that has no such restrictive boundaries.
In a general sense, the term describes any information system that integrates, stores,
edits, analyzes, shares, and displays geographic information for informing decision
making. GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries
(user-created searches), analyze spatial information, edit data in maps, and present
the results of all these operations. Geographic information science is the science
underlying geographic concepts, applications, and systems.