- GIS stands for "Geographic Information System". It is a system designed to collect, store, manage, view, and analyze spatial data, as well as associated attribute data. The RMBL system uses ESRI GIS software, and updated hardware, with large storage and memory capabilities.
- GIS is useful because it allows users to combine, analyze, and view many layers of data at the same time (see above diagram). This allows the user to do the following:
1.) See connections, trends, or relationships that they may
have otherwise missed
2.) Make maps to present and share their data or location (see
3.) Make models that can be used to predict. These models can
make field data collection much more effective and efficient.
- Spatial data is anything that has a geographical location associated with it. Spatial data can be collected using a GPS (points/lines/polygons). Other examples include ortho'ed aerial photography, satellite images, elevation models, vegetation data, streams, roads, and towns.
- Attribute data is associated data to any of the spatial data. One example would be if a researcher used a GPS unit to collect the location of some plants. The spatial data would be the GPS points, each with a latitude/longitude. The attribute data would be additional data collected at the same time, such as plant species, height, number of pollinators/plant, etc. Attribute data is often collected using a data dictionary or code dictionary. Attribute data can be viewed in ArcMap, which is one component of the GIS software that we have at RMBL.
- Data dictionaries are created so that it is simple and easy to collect attribute data at the same time as your GPS data. They are covered in more detail in the GPS section of this website.
GIS is used in many fields, including the sciences, emergency planning, town planning, facilities management, and many others.