Geographic information systems (GIS) are computer-based tools that have become an integral part of our daily lives. They are used to store, visualize, analyze, and interpret geographic data, making it easier for us to access information about our surroundings. From checking the news or weather on our smartphones to utilizing industry systems to ensure products reach their destinations, GIS is a critical component of modern conveniences.
The use of GIS extends far beyond our personal devices, reaching various scientific applications and industries. Epidemiologists use GIS to map the spread of disease, ecologists to understand wildlife movement, and climate scientists to comprehend changes in glaciers, sea levels, and regional weather patterns. Social scientists also rely on GIS to study global conflict and immigration, while urban planners and engineers use it to determine the best places for new development and infrastructure.
The U.S. National Science Foundation has played a central role in the development and growth of GIS-related technology and science. In the past two years alone, the foundation has awarded over 180 grants totaling more than $83 million to support research related to GIS in fields such as geography, math, computer science, geology, anthropology, and education. This continued support demonstrates the importance of GIS in our modern world and its ongoing relevance to a wide range of fields.
In conclusion, spatial data organized using geographic information systems (GIS) is essential to our modern-day conveniences and has far-reaching applications in various scientific fields and industries. The continued support from organizations like the U.S. National Science Foundation ensures that GIS technology will continue to evolve and play a critical role in shaping our future.