Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Simply put, GIS is an information system that combines layers of information about a place to provide better information about that place. A GIS involves hardware, software, and procedures designed to support the capture, management, manipulation, analysis, modelling and display of spatially-referenced data.

A GIS is not an automated decision making system but a tool to query, analyze, and map data in support of the decision making process. For example, GIS can be used to help reach a decision about locating a new housing development in an area having minimal environmental impact and is also close to a population center. GIS presents information quickly, concisely, and clearly in the form of maps to facilitate efficient analysis of multiple decision scenarios. Presenting information in maps also well suits the powerful pattern recognition capability of human beings who can draw conclusions from maps much easier than from tables of rows and columns. Based on this description of GIS technology, it is clear that it has great potential to support execution planning decisions for multiple-site infrastructure M&R programs.