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What are GIS and remote sensing?

A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing feature events on earth. GIS technology integrates common database operations, such as query and statistical analysis, with maps. GIS manages location-based information and provides tools for display and analysis of various statistics, including population characteristics, economic development opportunities, and vegetation types. GIS allows you to link databases and maps to create dynamic displays. Additionally, it provides tools to visualize, query, and overlay those databases in ways not possible with traditional spreadsheets. These abilities distinguish GIS from other information systems, and make it valuable to a wide range of public and private enterprises for explaining events, predicting outcomes, and planning strategies. For more, see GIS.com.

Remote sensing is the art and science of making measurements of the earth using sensors on airplanes or satellites. These sensors collect data in the form of images and provide specialized capabilities for manipulating, analyzing, and visualizing those images. Remote sensed imagery is integrated within a GIS. For more, see NASA's remote sensing tutorials.

Note: Indiana University has higher education license agreements with ERDAS, Esri, and Clark Labs that provide students, faculty, and research staff from all campuses with the use of software at reduced costs. For more, see At IU, how can I obtain GIS and remote sensing software?

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Last modified on August 14, 2012.

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