What is a Geographic Information System (GIS)?

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a software framework that incorporates geographical features with other datasets in order to map, analyze, and assess real-world geospatial problems. 

The geographic aspect of GIS is key – it means that some portion of the data that is being analyzed within a GIS is geospatial.  In other words, it involves data that is in reference to locations on the earth. In addition, this geospatial data is usually enriched with what is referred to as attribute data. Attribute data can be generally defined as additional information about each of the spatial features.  An example of this would be the actual location of a retailer (the spatial data) enriched with attribute data such as the retailer’s name, brand of retailer, and the type of retail property. 

The combination of these two data types enables GIS to be an effective problem-solving tool that underpins the journey to geospatial intelligence.

Location software tools leverage GIS to help visualize location data. Shown above, Precisely MapInfo Pro is used to perform drivetime analysis

Why Geographic Information Systems are Important?

Geographic Information Systems are important because they enable organizations to more easily visualize and analyze location-based data. Location data adds complexity to many decisions and detailed analysis is often needed for organizations wishing to avoid costly decisions. Effective GIS enables users to quickly identify, and make better decisions on, people, places, and patterns of interest.

GIS helps you use geospatial analytics to create insightful models of multiple location-centric scenarios. This enabling you to visualize and analyze different outcomes to optimize your organization’s decisions and actions.

With today’s increasing deluge of location data, GIS needs to process massive files and offer outstanding platform stability. Frequently, highly performant raster data processing is required so users can create impactful visualizations, alongside highly intuitive design, in order to help GIS professionals inform business decisions with accuracy and efficiency.

See how Precisely’s GIS tools can help you optimize your geospatial decision making


In addition to the analysis GIS departments provide to the business, they also use GIS to create foundational maps and data used in enterprise mapping and business intelligence tools across the enterprise. This enables multiple business users to access location analytics within their everyday business tools.

GIS applications are at the foundation of geographic analysis and visualization across industries to solve a range of business challenges. For example:

  • Insurance: Analyze exposure to risk from environmental or natural hazards such as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, or crime. Learn more about our Insurance solutions
  • EngineeringCoordinate with local planning and engineering groups for construction projects. Assist related groups in understanding environmental impacts or locations of public or utility infrastructure.
  • Telecommunications: Produce coverage maps, visualize gaps in coverage, and plan for additional coverage. Understand subscriber locations and demographics to create acquisition and retention programs. Learn more about our Telco solutions
  • UtilitiesPlan, implement, and manage operations for transportation, energy and urban utilities such as water supply, waste water, and health.
  • MarketingIdentify geographic areas for delivery of marketing campaigns that reach the target audience.

How Precisely Can Help

Precisely MapInfo Pro is a powerful and intuitive GIS tool used by industry leaders across the world, offers exceptional raster processing capabilities. See how our location software can help you optimize your geospatial decision makingLearn more about MapInfo Pro