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What is GIS?

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a tool that allows us to gather and analyze spatially related data. GIS maps provide a powerful visual tool, and also allow us to test complex spatial relationships and hypothesis.

What makes GIS different from other data analysis techniques is that each piece of information is related to a geographic point. Specific tools are required to collect and analyze spatial data. One such tool is a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit that can be used to collect data points in the field. For example, using a GPS unit we could link the occurrence of particular bird species to specific geographic points. Another common way to create GIS databases is by combining two or more spatially related databases. For example, we could create a table that matches zip codes with income. There are several public websites that provide GIS data. Many of the PLACE Program maps were created using this public data.

http://www.gis.com/whatisgis/index.html Learn what you will need to get started, and see basic examples on how to use GIS data

http://www.vcgi.org Much of VermontŐs public GIS information is available at the Vermont Center for Geographic Information

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