The World and Its People

Chapter 1: Looking at the Earth

Student Web Activity

"Geographic Information Systems"

In this chapter, you have read about many of the tools used by geographers. A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system that can combine many kinds of geographic information. By layering that information over maps, an analysis can be developed that will be useful to government or business in their decision making processes.

Destination Title:

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Start at the Web site about geographic information systems.

  • Click on What Is GIS? at the top of your screen.
  • Read this information.

After you have read through the information, answer the following questions.

What is GIS? How is a GIS map different from a paper map?
Click on What Can You Do with GIS? in the column on the left of the screen. Scroll down and read Map Change. Why would someone want to use GIS to map change?
Click on Why Use GIS? How can GIS help people to make better decisions?
Click on GIS Showcase at the top of your screen. Click on Government on the left of your screen. How is GIS being used to make governments more efficient?
Now that you have learned about all the different uses of GIS, think about a situation in your area that GIS could help analyze. Describe who would be using it, for what purpose, what data they will want to show, and how GIS would help in analyzing the situation. (For further study, contact your local government and find out about its use of GIS.)
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