A geographic information system (GIS) is a software program that collects, stores, and analyses geographically referenced data. It is a powerful analytical and decision-making tool being used in many industries including commercial, education, and government. The various types of GIS applications are nearly limitless. It has been used for everything from mapping wildlife habitat to tracking climate change to providing fire departments with the quickest route to the fire.
In the mining and petroleum industry, the process of locating and extracting oil and mineral deposits is often benefited by the use of GIS technology. Geologists and mining professionals can analyze the topography, geology, vegetation, and hydrology around the mining operation to mitigate environmental impact. This can also help mining companies operate more efficiently and safely.
GIS has hundreds of uses in the field of environmental management. It is used to study foresting practices, land use and land cover, wetlands management, and environmental phenomena. It is also used to study groundwater purity, air quality, and the effects of air and water pollution. One important application of GIS in environmental management is in tracking forest fires to better coordinate firefighting efforts.