What the Heck is a GIS?
According to the worlds greatest source of knowledge, the legendary Wikipedia, a Geographic Information System (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data. Put a little more simply, a GIS is the merging of cartography, statistical analysis, and database technology. Put even more simply, it tells you the stuff that’s in an area, bro.
A GIS contains a record of the geographical information in an area, details on what occurs there, and can predict what the consequences of changing the geography would be. For example, engineers use a GIS before deciding to build a new road to determine if it will even have a positive impact on traffic flow in an area. One could also be used to find a suitable location for a construction project by searching for an area with 5,000 square meters of free space, soil types appropriate for the scale of the building, and within 500 meters of a road. A wide variety of information about traffic habits, elevation levels, population density and socio-economic factors can be recorded and put to use in a GIS.
The question we want answered at MindSumo is: What would you do with one? How would you build a more prosperous and industrious city using all the different types of geographical information available? Build windmills to provide power in large flat areas? Gather the largest construction projects in the areas least prone to an earthquake? Place housing at the top of hills to avoid flooding? There are infinite ways to use the vast amounts of data we are now able to gather about the areas we live in, so how will you work them to your advantage?