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Geographic Information Systems

  1. J. Raul Ramirez

Published Online: 14 DEC 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470050118.ecse170

Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering

Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering

How to Cite

Ramirez, J. R. 2007. Geographic Information Systems. Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering. .

Author Information

  1. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 DEC 2007


A geographic imformation system (GIS) is a set of computer-based tools to collect, store, retrieve, manipulate, visualize, and analyze geo-spatial information (information identified by its location on the surface of reference, for example, the Earth). This article describes the major components of a GIS (hardware and software) with emphasis in the central processing units and peripheral device and major software components: collection, storage, retrieval, manipulation, query and analyze, and visualization. This discussion is followed by a discussion of applications in several fields using a set of examples to illustrate these topics. Then, the concept and implications of quality in GIS (spatial data quality, quality on embedded and external models) is discussed. Finally, some comments are presented over the future of GIS.


  • computer applications;
  • geo-spatial data processing;
  • query and analysis of geo-spatial data;
  • visualization of geo-spatial data