What a GIS Is
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 a GIS Is Not
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. 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.
How to Get a GIS From the IAFF
If you are interested in receiving a GIS analysis, contact your district vice president to start the process.