GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems, often defined as a computerized database management system for capture, storage, retrieval, analysis, and display of spatial data. Any data that includes information about location—be it a street address, zip code, census tract, or longitude and latitude coordinates—can be considered spatial. GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts. Many different types of data can be integrated into GIS and represented as a map layer. When these layers are drawn on top of each other, spatial patterns, processes and relationships often emerge. The most common GIS product is a map, but GIS can be used to generate answers to queries or as part of spatial statistical analysis.
GIS also stands for Geographic Information Science, an emerging interdisciplinary field that combines elements of geography, cartography, and computer science. Thought of in this way, GIS is a way of thinking about the world that puts spatial relationships at the center. GIS technology was originally developed to model the natural world—landmasses and bodies of water, elevation, temperature, soil composition, and suitable habitats for animals. More recently, social scientists have begun applying these tools—and this way of thinking—to understanding the social and built environment.
Here at the University of South Florida and at the College of Public Health we are currently using GIS in both our classrooms and in research. We now offer three classes teaching GIS, providing a foundation to learning the GIS software ArcGIS by ESRI. In research, we have several professors and research assistants, like Dr. Robert Novak, Dr. Benjamin Jacob, and Dr. Russell Kirby, that use the GIS software and spatial analytic methods for their publications.
USF College of Public Health Buildings
In the map you may click left once on the buildings to find additional information:
- College of Public Health
- LRC Chiles Center
- Corporate College/Continuing Education
- Westside Conference Center MHA
- Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute
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