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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What is GIS?

Many of the decisions we make every day involve being able to access, understand and utilise the space around us. This type of information is referred to as spatial information, and when visualised, we can see relationships, patterns, and trends that may not otherwise be apparent. A Geographic Information System (GIS) is mapping software that provides spatial information by linking locations with information about that location. It provides the functions and tools needed to efficiently capture, store, manipulate, analyse, and display the information about places and things.
The key components of a GIS are:
• Tools for entering and manipulating geographic information such as addresses,
political boundaries, geological features and building information
• A database management system (DBMS)
• Tools that create intelligent digital maps you can analyse, query for more
information, or print for presentation
• An easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI)
The synthesis of data and the essential mapping of the spatial relationships between  natural hazard phenomena (earthquake, landslide, cyclone, etc.) and the elements at risk (people, buildings, infrastructure) require the use of tools such as GIS. The relationships that are most significant in risk analysis and modelling are largely spatial. To accommodate this spatial emphasis, Geoscience Indonesia makes extensive use of GIS tools and technologies, as demonstrated in Figure 1.

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