Geographic Information System (GIS)

definition

A Geographical Information System is a computer program which combines two databases. The first one holds numerical data and is as such very similar to the information base you will find in a programme such as Dbase or Access. In the case of an education system, these would be the ‘traditional’ education management data on schools, teachers and students. The second database files geographic data, such as the location of schools, the boundaries of districts, the location of villages and cities, of roads, rivers and mountains, and other relevant geographical characteristics. The GIS links these two sets so that statistical data can be presented not only as tables and graphs but also as maps, which helps the reader to look for spatial patterns (Attfield, Tamiru, Parolin and De Grauwe, 2001: 9)

example of use

Information collection has become needs-driven, and the capacity to process, analyse, share, and disseminate information has been improved, reducing overlap in activities. New data visualization techniques, including mapping and geographic information systems (GIS), have improved decision-making processes. Lastly, it has enabled managers to use information at the policy and implementation levels, and has led to better coordination and resource allocation (Arefee, 2011: 92).

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