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This GIS helps tell a national story of predator control. Image: Predator Free NZ.

GIS stands for Geographic Information System.

GIS uses software to combine different sets of information as layers on a map.

Maps have come a long way since people first began drawings to show where they were. Modern maps are created using special software that combines lots of different sorts of information. This system of modern mapping is called GIS – Geographic Information Systems.

GIS is used by many different organisations to record and share a lot of different information about specific locations.

GIS allows organisations to;

  • access data
  • combine different data sets together
  • give a visual representation of data.

GIS allows a lot of different information to be shown on one map. Different layers or sets of information can be shown together or separately.

GIS gives people a picture of data that allows them to:

  • solve problems
  • write reports
  • track changes
  • make decisions
  • plan for the future e.g. where could new tracks and trails be created?

GIS requires four things:

  1. People: people who use GIS have been trained to use GIS and have made a career out of working with GIS.
  2. Data: geospatial information (where things are located) and the details of objects such as services, roads, buildings etc. are collected and entered into the GIS software.
  3. Software: GIS software analyses data and presents it in different ways for the user.
  4. Hardware: includes handheld devices for collecting data and computers with GIS software to display the GIS.

Data contained in a GIS system is stored in sets of data called ‘data sets’ in a database.

Data sets can be selected, combined and presented as layers:

GIS allows a lot of different information to be shown on one map.

GIS can be used to help plan restoration activities by looking at different sets of information all on the one map. An example might be that you want to see a map with roads, walking trails, bird nesting sites and trap locations. This might help plan where your next area of restoration planting could take place. It is helpful to see all of this information together and linked to a location.

GIS technology is changing how people carry out restoration projects. It allows workers, pests and predators to be tracked and information shared.

Complete the GIS quiz >

> Discover more about mapping technology and restoration

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