Geographic information systems (GIS) have become an integral part of our daily lives, from the convenience of checking the news and weather on our smartphones to the use of industry systems to ensure products reach their destinations. GIS is a powerful tool that uses layers of information about roads, topography, weather conditions, landmarks, businesses, and more to create maps that provide critical insights into various scientific applications and industries.
The versatility of GIS extends beyond our personal use, reaching fields such as epidemiology, ecology, climate science, social sciences, urban planning, and engineering. Epidemiologists use GIS to map the spread of disease while ecologists study wildlife movement using this technology. Climate scientists utilize GIS to comprehend changes in glaciers, sea levels, and regional weather patterns. Social scientists also rely on GIS to study global conflict and immigration. Urban planners and engineers determine the best places for new development and infrastructure using this technology as well.
The U.S. National Science Foundation has been at the forefront of GIS-related technology and science development and growth in recent years. Over the past two years alone, the foundation has awarded approximately 180 grants totaling over $83 million to support research in fields such as geography, math