The Map Collection has recently obtained geographical information system (GIS) software for general use. These packages include ArcView, Census CD, Maptitude, and StreetAtlas USA.
What is GIS?
What can be done with a GIS package?
GIS at the Map Collection
GIS at Yale
However, once you have a scanned image, you can proceed to digitize it. This involves allowing the computer to identify many of the points, lines, and polygons on the map. Digitizing can be a very time-consuming process.
Once a map is digitized, it can be geo-coded. This means that the GIS program "knows" each point's latitude and longitude, so that this map can be overlain with another map and the location will be aligned in both maps.
It is possible to have maps of various uses (land use, topography, roads, human habitat, etc.) for a given area. Each of these acts as an independent layer, and can be adjusted. However, multiple uses can be found by combining two or more layers. For example, topography, land use, and rainfall pattern layers can be combined to find areas that may be flooded.
The Map Collection has the following software:
It also has the tutorial "Getting to Know Desktop GIS", which gives a detailed description of what GIS is and how to use a number of data sources within the ArcView package. This is a great resource for beginners.
The following data is also available:
The world data is less detailed than that of the US, and is at a lower resolution.
There are a number of locations at Yale that have GIS software and facilities,
and the most common software package is ArcView. For more information,
Mapping, which gives a brief overview of GIS resources at Yale.
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Last updated August 22, 2000.