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Geographical Information Systems

What is a GIS?
In general, a Geographic Information System (GIS) combines layers of information about a geographic region to give a better understanding of that region. Layers of information can be combined depending on the purpose of the study. For instance, the location of fire stations can be layered on a jurisdiction’s geography, including the road network, water features, building footprints, or any other feature that has been digitized and assigned a location. These layers form a computer model of a jurisdiction, on which many types of analysis can be made.

What isn't a GIS?
A Global Positioning System (GPS) is not a geographic information system, though a GPS may be used in GIS data collection. A static map, paper or digital, is also not a GIS. Maps are a "product" of a GIS system, a way of visualizing the analysis.

A full GIS requires hardware, software, data, trained users, and sound analysis methods for interpreting the results generated by the GIS. The IAFF uses a state-of-the-art PC-based GIS system, ArcView from ESRI, Inc. All GIS analysts at the IAFF receive training from an ESRI certified ArcView instructor, and follow established analysis routines developed by both IAFF staff and GIS industry experts.

What do we need from you?
Each local that is approved for Geographic Information System (GIS) Custom Technical Assistance completes a comprehensive questionnaire. To view the GIS Questionnaire, visit the section "GIS, What we need from you."


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