What is the Difference between GIS and Mapping

GIS helps capture, store, identify, analyse, and present data that is used in the creation, modification, and improvement of maps. 

What is the Difference between GIS and Mapping
difference-between-gis-mapping

What is the Difference between GIS and Mapping

The terms GIS and mapping have almost always been used interchangeably. For the longest time, there was no clear distinction between the two. There had been schools of thought saying GIS included maps, and others saying GIS and maps were the same. 

However, there is a real scientific difference between GIS and maps. Consider this- if Maps is the picture we see of a region, GIS is the data that makes up that picture. The details on the map are provided by GIS. 
GIS is the data that makes up the imagery and mapping, forming thousands of pictorial maps worldwide. 

The final result of GIS analysis is often a map. 

In traditional paper maps, once it was created, changes could not be made. However, in integrated mapping that is popular today, GIS systems continuously analyse data and incorporate changes in the maps available digitally. Now, users can ask GIS systems new questions and have new factors incorporated into the visualisation.

Also Read: Exploring Oceans with GIS and Remote Sensing

For example, a digital map shows urban development in a region. If the concerned parties require the same map to show water trends over time, it can be easily integrated digitally with the help of GIS analysis. 

Cartography, or mapping- is simply the visualisation of the available data to form comprehensive and understandable pictorial representations of a region. Cartographic software now requires integrated GIS software to capture data and make sense of the information so that it can be put into a map. 

GIS helps incorporate real-world elements, topography, and dynamic elements without having manual changes being made round the clock. GIS maps are much more dynamic than static maps for the obvious reason that they can read changes in the real world and put them in the maps. 

For example, a road being built in your area might not be visible on a paper map.  However, once GIS recognises a change, it may reflect that on your online mapping application. 

Also Read: Role of GIS in Environment Protection

GIS maps are formed in layers starting from the basic landforms to minute details such as road signs, speed limits, and even the usual traffic in a region. The dynamic nature of GIS maps helps understand how GIS is different from cartography. 

Cartography is heavily reliant on the data provided by GIS. This data is what forms the very base of mapping- helping in decision making, planning, and development. 

In conclusion, GIS helps capture, store, identify, analyse, and present data that is used in the creation, modification, and improvement of maps. 

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