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Description of GIS Concept

This section describes the basic concept of GIS. What does GIS look like? How does it work?
© Universiti Malaya

GIS layer cake Image retrieved from Saylor Academy GIS layers

Most modern maps are created by combining multiple map layers stored in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Many view a geographic information system (GIS) map as a single canvas. However, it is not the case. GIS runs in layers of features. Each map layer represents a distinct collection of geo-referenced data points that are superimposed on top of the other to form a composite map image. Layers are in the form of Points, Polylines, or Polygons. Each layer has different information. For example, one layer shows the distribution of road networks and their hierarchy. This layer is represented in polylines. Another may show places of interest. This layer will show features in points. A good example of polygons is land use. Polygons can represent commercial areas.

Image retrieved from Caliper.com

Layers ease users to modify information if any amendment is to be made constantly. Users can change the layer properties easily. Colours, symbols, and sizes are among the common properties users might want to manipulate.

This video explains how layers are manipulated to yield interesting information.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

© Universiti Malaya
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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the Built Environment

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