Geographic information systems (GIS) have become an integral part of our everyday lives, thanks to the vast amounts of spatial data they help organize and analyze. From checking the news or weather on our smartphones to utilizing industry systems to ensure products reach their destinations, GIS has made it easier than ever to access and understand complex geographic information.
But GIS is more than just a tool for mapping out our daily routines – it’s also a critical component of scientific research in a variety of fields. Epidemiologists use GIS to map the spread of disease, ecologists rely on it to understand wildlife movement, and climate scientists leverage it to comprehend changes in glaciers, sea levels, and regional weather patterns.
GIS also plays a key role in social science research, helping social scientists study global conflict and immigration, as well as urban planners and engineers determine the best places for new development and infrastructure. With its ability to combine layers of information about roads, topography, weather conditions, landmarks, businesses and more on maps, GIS has become an essential tool for researchers across many different disciplines.
The U.S. National Science Foundation has been instrumental in supporting the growth and development of GIS-related technology and science over the past two years by awarding around 180 grants totaling over $83 million to researchers in fields such as geography, math, computer science