A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of spatial or geographical data. What goes beyond a GIS is a spatial data infrastructure, a concept that has no such restrictive boundaries. In a general sense, the term describes any information system that integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares, and displays geographic information. GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries (user-created searches), analyze spatial information, edit data in maps, and present the results of all these operations.
GIS is a broad term that can refer to a number of different technologies, processes, and methods. It is attached to many operations and has many applications related to engineering, planning, management, transport/logistics, insurance, telecommunications, and business. For that reason, GIS and local intelligence applications can be the foundation for many location-enabled services that rely on analysis and visualization.
GIS can relate unrelated information by using location as the key index variable. Locations or extents in the Earth space-time may be recorded as dates/times of occurrence, and x, y, and z coordinates representing, longitude, latitude, and elevation, respectively. All Earth-based spatial–temporal location and extent references should, ideally, be relatable to one another and ultimately to a "real" physical location or extent.