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What is GIS? The definition has changed!

If you are still reading the definition of GIS from the 90's please wait! It's 2018 and What is GIS has a new definition.

what is GIS - the new definition

What’s up GIS folks? It is 2018 and some of you might be still defining “What is GIS?” based on what has been defined in the 90’s. Isn’t it time to rethink! So, next time if someone asks you the real new definition of GIS, you need to get ready. Here is the new way to define GIS!

What is GIS – The classic definition

You all know! And Wikipedia does it just right! “Geographic information system or geographical information system (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of spatial or geographical data.”

Traditionally GIS was a desktop system where people captured/ created/edited, stored and visualized the data.

To run a GIS, you were expected to have a skill set for handling the maps (if creating is not the need), to visualize them. GIS was a niche skill set and was limited to be used by the people only with such skills.

What is GIS – The new definition

GIS is as the web or mobile app that can help you bring in your data and integrate with maps that can be used to visualize and analyze the data to find out patterns and derive trends.

Five things that brought the changes in GIS?

The world moved from desktops to servers to the web and then to mobile. As the technology progressed, GIS also took this transition. GIS moved from being a desktop software, to be a server based, to Web GIS and now to mobile GIS.

But, what made the change is the need for people to take advantage of the power of maps, the power of location intelligence, the power of geography! Here are the aspects that brought this change:

  1. You no more capture/create/edit base maps to visualize: Since the availability of base map data as web services, the hectic task of creating base data first slowly started to diminish. Want a street data, satellite imagery, terrain data or even traffic and weather information. You now have it at your fingertips in a GIS.
  2. You no more need to install a GIS: Since the Cloud and SaaS models started to get popular, GIS is always there for you and your enterprise. It’s always up-to-date!
  3. You don’t need to store it! It is always available as per your demand ― on PC, mobile or tablet. Enterprises are taking the advantage of Cloud storage model of data.
  4. You don’t need to run tools to analyze data: Rather than the need for the business data to come to GIS; the GIS started getting integrated with business data, processes, and workflows. Instead of running a toolbox, or script to do the analysis, the logic for analysis is already pre-defined and the analysis can even happen over the Cloud. If you don’t have the logic, you can always buy the tool as an App in the Cloud and run it.
  5. You no more create map layouts every time to visualize the data: Pre-set map style and templates are available within the GIS, that helps you to open the template and visualize the data. You can also share and publish these results easily and tell stories with your data.

Am I missing something? Share your comments to improve this list.