Understanding GIS

GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems.

A GIS is a spatial database, where information can be indexed, explored, queried, and analyzed using a GIS program.  The most popular GIS software is ESRI’s ArcMap. A free demo can be downloaded for individuals here. Other programs available are GRASS and Quantum GIS . Additionally Online GIS is growing rapidly and Google Fusion Tables , CartoDB , and ArcGIS Online provide different types of mapping for less demanding projects.

Good GIS data depends on metadata, which is data about data.  Metadata should include information about when data was created, how it was created, why it was created, and who created it so that the data can be re-appropriated correctly by different organizations for different purposes without loosing the data’s value.

Besides the data that NIRPC creates and stores itself, NIRPC depends on Other GIS Data Sources. NIRPC strives to produce accurate and well documented data.