Geographic information systems (GIS) and related technologies, such as global
positioning systems (GPS), are necessary tools for upholding the mandate of the
National Park Service to manage parks for future generations.
Maps are a very effective tool for park visitors and managers.
They assist in communication between resource managers, the public and the
academic community. For example, maps help us visualize where objects of
interest are located, such as a stream. Once the stream is located on a map, a
resource manager can determine the relationship of identified objects, such as a
species of plant, to the stream. Once these features are overlayed on a map or
in a geographic information system, the resource manager is able to develop and
study different alternative solutions to a question such as, "How will the
plant react if the stream is redirected?"
A geographic information system (GIS) consists of computer
hardware, software and georeferenced data. Georeferenced data corresponds to a
place on the surface of the earth. A GIS is capable of inputting, storing,
manipulating, analyzing and outputting georeferenced data. The power of a GIS
is its ability to analyze location, features or objects (such as a stream), and
feature characteristics (such as water quality, direction of flow), in relation
to other locations, features, and their characteristics.
To learn more about GIS and mapping technologies visit:
What is GIS