Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Geospatial data are electronic data that include some kind of location information, which could be latitude longitude coordinates, an address, a zip code or a county. These data are generally used in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), cartography, and remote sensing software packages. Data can be obtained from central clearinghouses (listed below), local organizations, and/or generated by researchers in the field.
From the interesting GIS Lounge portal: There is a distinct difference between GIS and Geospatial data, in that GIS refers more narrowly to the traditional definition of using layers of geographic data to produce spatial analysis and derivative maps. Geospatial is more broadly used to refer to all technologies and applications of geographic data. For example, popular social media sites such as Foursquare and Facebook use “check-ins” that allow their users the ability to geographically tag their statuses. While those applications are considered to be geospatial, they don’t fall underneath the stricter definition of what makes up a geographic information system.
The Institute for Geospatial Analysis & Mapping (GEOMAP), housed in the Department of Geography, Geology, and the Environment provides synergy for faculty research across campus and offers unique learning and professional development opportunities for students.
The library has five GIS workstations which are located in the uLab.on the east side of main floor in Milner Library.
NATIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Some Helpful Tools:
SimplyMap -- a software product providing web-based mapping capabilities utilizing extensive demographic, business and marketing data. A tool that requires a far less intensive learning curve than the more powerful ESRI suite of GIS software. A personal account is required in order to Save your work on the central server.
Scribble Maps allows you to create quick maps with pins, highlighting, and annotations. It also allows you to use lines to calculate distances. This sample map that highlights a few locations took only a few minutes to create ... and can be inserted into web pages, blogs, or paper documents. You can also use Scribble to create Visual Indexes which contain links to other materials.
The following are simplistic descriptions to help a beginner understand some of the key terms and concepts used in GIS:
For a more complete set of definitions see the esri GIS Dictionary.