GIS is commonly used to describe both Geographic Information Systems and Geographic Information Science. Each term carries a unique meaning. For this guide, we will use 'GIS' to mean Geographic Information Systems.
Geographic Information Systems are the computer hardware and software that enable users to manage, visualize, and analyze spatial data through the power of maps. It has become an essential tool in the geographer's tool kit for understanding spatial relationships about places and features on the Earth’s surface.
Geographic Information Science is the academic field, typically a subfield of geography, that establishes the theoretical basis for, conducts research on, and utilizes GIS. There are two types of GIScience:
This guide covers using GIS as a technology tool for research. While GIScience is not covered in detail, users can explore the University's Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science for more information.
Image retrieved from: http://www.esri.com/news/arcnews/winter0809articles/gis-geography-in-action.html
If you have interest in adding to this guide please contact James Whitacre.