A geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present spatial or geographic data. The acronym GIS is sometimes used for geographic information science (GIScience) to refer to the academic discipline that studies geographic information systems and is a great area within the broader academic discipline of Geomatics. What goes beyond GIS is a spatial data infrastructure, a concept that has not as restrictive limits.
GIS operates on many levels. On the most basic level, geographic information systems technology is used as computer cartography, that is for straight forward mapping. The real power of GIS is through using spatial and statistical methods to analyze attribute and geographic information. The end result of the analysis can be derivative information, interpolated information or prioritized information.