What is Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Have you seen the ‘what I do’ meme? What better way to explain Geographic Information Systems (GIS) than debunking all the perceptions?

What our friends think GIS is:
Often times, all our friends remember is that it has something to do with maps and maybe phones.

What our moms think GIS is:
Maybe it’s due to selective hearing, but many of our moms think we make GPS.

What the general public thinks GIS is:
Nearly 20 years ago it was a lot worse, but the general public thinks it has something to do with surveying. Not quite, but we have a division that can do that for you.

What our bosses think GIS is:
Although it would be cool, we don’t quite have matrix-like coding skills. We’re just glad they don’t want us to go into details and just let us keep doing awesome things.

What GIS professionals think GIS is:
We spend most of our days behind a screen, or three, because we keep way too many windows open at once.

What GIS really is:
All jokes aside, we focus on Geospatial Technology which is the backbone of Next Generation 9-1-1. Many people don’t spend much time wondering what happens when they call 9-1-1. Many assume the police, fire department and rescue units can locate us quickly and easily.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Localities throughout the nation are working to make the best of what they have in their budget to obtain a more up-to-date system and better data collecting capabilities.

During our years of working with localities, we have focused on addressing their GIS needs. These needs often support departments such as planning, commissioner of the revenue, parks and recreation, and public safety.

In recent years, public safety has gone from being the smallest consumer of GIS data to the main consumer of GIS data.

Now, many localities are now starting to move to Next Generation 9-1-1. GIS serves an important role in the current E 9-1-1 environment, but with the graduation to NG 9-1-1, GIS will become not just important, but critical.

We spend time talking to clients, attending seminars and conferences, and keeping up with the advancements of GIS and NG 9-1-1. Despite all of the new technology that comes with NG 9-1-1, most of the needs localities have are based on workflow and communication

Many people have asked why Sarah Hague, our GIS and NG 9-1-1 expert, is a GISP (Geographic Information Systems Professional) and an ENP (Emergency Number Professional). It’s because GIS professionals who will support Next Generation 9-1-1 need to be equally knowledgeable about both systems. This knowledge helps all citizens be as safe as possible in our communities.