An overview and definition of GIS

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Geographical Information Systems (GIS) have been generating massive interest world wide. Their comparative recency, rapid rate of development, commercial orientation and diversity have not assisted in producing a clear and unambiguous definition of GIS. This chapter attempts to provide an overview of GIS, focusing on efforts to develop a satisfactory definition, the fundamental principles on which they are based and the evolution of applications. The term GIS can be applied to computer technology, integrated systems for use in substantive applications, as well as a new discipline. Estimates of the size and importance of the GIS market suggest that it is of national and global significance and that it is growing at a rapid rate. Three widely held views of GIS emphasize the importance of map processing, databases and spatial analysis. The evolution of GIS is described as a three stage process encompassing resource inventory analysis and management activities. -Author

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeographical information systems. Vol. 1: principles
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1991

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