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GIS or geographical information systems are better known as ''Smart Maps".
The required ingredients for the system are:
A map preferable digital map, a database connected to the map , data to populate the database and the obvious a computer.
Geographical data analysis are done by applying mathematical or statistical methods to the raster cells contained in a dataset within the database which then reproduces a new raster or table as an output.
Data needs to be spatially referenced for improved analysis. Your home's address is a spatially referenced form of data. The address is unique no two addresses are the same so it's specific to a location on the earth surface. If you were to connect your address to your home's geographical co-ordinates then you have spatially referenced your home's address, this is also called geocoding.
The following happens when you search for your house's address through the system:
-Search , the database locates the corresponding address you entered.
-Result, the systems receives the allocated x,y co-ordinates which corresponds to your address and illustrate its location on a digital map.
Now, add attributes to your homes database, such as 2 bedrooms, 1 kitchen and 2 garages. Add the entire neighborhood then the entire town and your are ready to analyse your town's demographics.
-Analysis1 , query the system to illustrate homes with 3 bedrooms and 1 garage. -Analysis2 , query the system to illustrate homes with 2 bedrooms and
Final Analysis, compare both results to see which homes have 2/3 bedrooms or 1/2 garages and where the are located. If you entered demographic data such as census records into your database then you can locate the highest/lowest populated area's in your town , the age distribution of your town.
GIS enables you to record your world with all its attributes and to analyse this artificial world from your computer, giving you power at your finger tips.
The possibilities are endless, GIS and can be applied to any field such as marine research, population growth, economics, agriculture, urban and rural development, the list can go on.
Dive deeper into my blog on you will see the capabilities of GIS and more. Credit must be given to Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) for developing software such as ArcMap, ArcScene, ArcGlode and ArcCatalog which I used in my analysis. All the maps produced on the blog is in raster format hence the rough pixel appearances.