A Geographic Information System or (GIS) is a computer system that links two basic types of geographic information together; map features and descriptive information. Map Features describe the location and shape of real world objects such as roads, homes, property, rivers, wells, development sites, and flood zones.
Descriptive information about these features is stored in data tables such as tax records, building permit records, soil studies, employment data, land use records, hazardous material information, and environmental studies. By linking maps and information a computerized model can be built for a specific area, city, or county. This model can then be used to help identify and investigate relationships in information.
There are many ways GIS can be of benefit to our community. Potential GIS applications include the ability to locate individuals in the event of an emergency (police, fire or rescue); locate a new site for a radio tower; study crime patterns; identify flood prone areas; identify environmentally sensitive areas; identify areas to preserve as parks and open space. A GIS can also help to display information through the use of presentations, maps, tables, charts, and images and graphics.