The best way to understand exactly how GIS works, and how it can work for you, is to get a demonstration from someone who’s good at using it.
You may be able to do this at a local educational institution (many colleges and universities offer GIS courses, or have their own GIS capability), or a GIS professional or retailer may be willing to give you a demonstration in hopes of selling his or her services or products.
We’ll look at all of this more closely in the remainder of this section.
A good example is the location of traffic accidents referred to in the introduction to this section.
It can show you where people with particular characteristics – age, ethnicity, income level, education level, etc.
– cluster, where certain things happen or are likely to happen, the pace and direction of development, the spread of pollution, buying patterns, traffic patterns, the location of current and former buried utility and water lines -- in short, just about anything you’d need for assessment, planning, or evaluation purposes, as long as it had a geographic component and was accurately recorded.
They locate us in our world, and tell us where we are in relation to other places whose names we know.
There are other maps that many of us are exposed to.