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GIS VS GPS: What’s The Difference?

One might wonder what the difference is between GIS and GPS. At a glance, one might wonder what the difference is between both terms.  It is important to highlight the variance between both abbreviations as many take them to be interchangeable, probably due to the first and last letters being the same.

 

GIS is the acronym for Geographic Information Systems. It is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface. GIS can help individuals and organizations better understand spatial patterns and relationships by relating seemingly unrelated data. It is a type of database containing geographic data, combined with software tools for managing, analyzing, and visualizing those data.

 

 GIS data can be used to create charts, maps, and 3D models of the earth’s surface. This includes hills, mountains, trees, buildings, streets, rivers, etc. GIS provides a visual representation of data, shows relationships between locations, and can help to determine the best location for certain placements such as a new retail store of the proximity of other stores and availability of customers.

GPS on the other hand represents Global Positioning System. It is a positioning system based on a network of satellites that continuously transmit coded information. The information transmitted from the satellites can be interpreted by receivers to precisely identify locations on earth by measuring distances from the satellites.

The system consists of a worldwide satellite control network and GPS receiver units that acquire the GPS signals and translate them into positioning and timing information. GPS provides highly accurate location information which can be used to improve safety and recover stolen property. It can also be used in mapping and surveying to survey positions and locations on the earth.

One similarity is that GIS and GPS both use location-based services (LBS) applications that use location information to provide a service.

GIS can be used to create or generate a map that can then be interpreted to show patterns such as the movement of people from one place to another, the spread of a particular disease, and so on.

In summary, Global Positioning Systems  (GPS) are used to identify exact locations while  Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a software program used to record information that is collected from the GPS satellites onto maps.

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