The Nature of Geographic Information

5. Databases, Mapping, and GIS


One of our objectives in this first chapter is to be able to define a geographic information system. Here's a tentative definition: A GIS is a computer-based tool used to help people transform geographic data into geographic information.

The definition implies that a GIS is somehow different from other information systems, and that geographic data are different from non-geographic data. Let's consider the differences next.