What is GIS? What is it for? What are the possibilities that it opens up? Here, you could find a brief summary to understand more about one of the most used acronyms in recent times.

GIS stands for “Geographical Information System”. It is a software system that allows the acquisition, analysis, visualization, and sharing of information derived from geographic data.

A unique system that brings together software, data, and procedures, but not only this. GIS is so much more. Perhaps, still many have not understood how and why GIS is more than just software. In this article, we would like to get to the heart of the matter and show the potentials inherent in GIS solutions, which open the way to an infinite number of applications and usage scenarios.

The science of where

To understand GIS power, we need to think about the importance of geography in the lives of people, companies, and public authorities. It isn’t enough to understand what you want to do for yourself or for the common good of a company or an urban community, but it is essential to understand where to do it or, better: where is more strategic to implement measures or take initiatives to start projects?

The “science of where”, as defined by the U.S. founder of the ArcGIS platform [1], has a wide range of application fields: from supply chain management to insurance, from emergency management to land management and urban planning, from healthcare to banking and so on [2].

GIS technology is powerful because it holds the keys to finding out the links and connections hidden in the data of companies, people, and public authorities, and connecting them in a fruitful and useful way.

All this is possible because GIS integrates the geographic analysis of numerical cartography with the queries and statistical analysis of traditional databases. So, it helps us to find associations between geographic entities (geometric-topological data) and information contents of different nature (numerical-textual informations) [3].

In conclusion

In other words, GIS doesn’t only allow to visualization of spatial data on a map, but also to query them, providing results in different graphical formats (on the map, on graphs, in tabular form) for an easier interpretation. It supports us to highlight connections inside the data, which are fundamental to drive business, government, and public institution choices.

Being able to take decisions faster and better is not only vital but can save human lives. In fact, GIS applications can be used also in emergency situations: for example, in case of natural disasters or for choosing the best location for a field hospital.