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Geographic Information System

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A geographic information system (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information. GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts. For additional information on best practices, see Environmental Systems Research Institute's (ESRI) Essays on Geography and GIS .

Idealized Composite GIS Layers Example

NCEI's GIS staff utilize a comprehensive suite of mapping tools produced by the leading software provider, Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI).

NCEI's GIS staff uses GIS to produce Internet Map Services (IMS) and Representational State Transfer Services (REST) to visualize data through ESRI's commercial package called ArcIMS or through Google Maps. The data are housed in a relational database using a commercial package produced by Oracle . The communication between the map interface and the database interface is achieved via a package produced by ESRI called ArcSDE.

NCEI's GIS staff has built and maintains a variety of online mapping services that are available for general public access.