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GIS For Dummies® by Michael N. DeMers

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Chapter 1

Seeing the Scope of GIS

In This Chapter

Getting GIS basics

Understanding how all the parts of GIS technology work together

Knowing how to think like a geographer

Seeing the many applications of GIS

Everything you experience from day to day happens somewhere in geographic space. As a result, you can represent your world and your experiences in it by using maps. You use those maps to find places, save time while traveling, decide where to locate a new store, plan cities, guide the development of wildlife preserves, and satisfy hundreds of other applications.

In this day of digitized everything, the maps you use to represent the world reside inside the computer, and you now have at your fingertips the ability to search those maps, find objects and routes, and plan related activities. The computer systems that enable you to store and access all this information are collectively called geographic information systems (GIS). This book is all about GIS and how it helps you make decisions.

To recognize how important this tool is, you only have to think about how people use maps today and how adding the power of a computer can help you make both better and faster decisions. Here are a few quick examples:

For business owners and marketers: You want to put up a new toy store in a location that gives you access to a lot of customers. To find the right location for your store, you need to know who your customers are (parents of children) and where they live (so that you can locate ...

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