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Q: What is a GIS?

A: A Geographical Information System (GIS) is a set of tools that enable an organisation’s data to be represented on a map, enabling a medium for more informed decision-making. A standard definition of GIS is: “an organized collection of computer hardware, software, geographic data, and personnel designed to efficiently capture, store, update, manipulate, analyse, and display all forms of geographically referenced information” (ESRI); or put in more simpler terms: “a computer-based tool for mapping and analysing things that exist and events that happen on earth” (ESRI).

The UK Association for Geographic Information (AGI) defines GIS as, "A system for capturing, storing, checking, integrating, manipulating, analysing and displaying data which are spatially referenced to the Earth. The GIS is normally considered to involve a spatially referenced computer database and appropriate applications software." Many technologies come together under the heading GIS, including remote sensing, computerised mapping, databases and spatial analysis.

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