Geographic Information Systems

What is GIS?

Wikipedia defines GIS as follows: Geographic information System (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data. The acronym GIS is sometimes used for geographical information science or geospatial information studies to refer to the academic discipline or career of working with geographic information systems.[1] In the simplest terms, GIS is the merging of cartography, statistical analysis, and database technology.

What is GIS?

ESRI, the software development and services company for GIS software, defines GSI as: A geographic information system (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

How is GIS Used?

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.
A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared.

How did Awbury Arboretum use GIS?

In the spring of 2012 it became clear to the Awbury Arboretum Landscape Committee that accurate mapping of the arboretum and its trees was a necessary predicate to landscape planning and restoration efforts, and managing the maintenance of Awbury’s aging trees. A GIS software package, normally costing several thousand dollars, was secured through a not-for-profit assistance program of the ESRI Corporation.

A state of the art Trimble Geo XT backpack GPS mapping unit was loaned by Keystone Precision Instruments, Inc. of Allentown, P.A. Dr. Susan Lucas of the Temple University Department of Geography and Urban Studies signed on, along with a group of dedicated students, to do the actual mapping. Awbury’s landscape manager, Denis Lucey, together with an intern from Temple Ambler agreed to do the species identification of the individual trees for the database, and the entire effort was supervised by landscape architect Claudia Levy of Levy DiCarlo Partners, LLC.

The mapping project has succeeded in identifying and locating over 2400 trees in the Arboretum. The data collected on each tree is its latitude/longitude coordinates, its elevation, girth at chest height, number of trunks, bark condition, and other aspects of its condition. Each tree is also given a stainless steel embossed tag with a unique number for the database.The result of this data gathering is a searchable database and a layer for a GIS map. For the first time, Awbury’s staff can see a reliable map of the trees in the collection, a key tool for planning planting and maintenance.”