A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a technology that puts a vast amount of data we gather on our computers into a format that is much more comprehensible by the average person. A GIS is a planning and decision-making tool that has been called intelligent mapping. How does a GIS give mapping its intelligence? Let's take a look. In a GIS each unique piece of mappable information is kept in its own place on the computer. In GIS terminology, this unique piece of mappable information is referred to as a layer. In Wilson we have hundreds of layers of information. Some of these layers are as follows (see diagram): City Limit Boundaries, Planning Zones, Water Lines, Crime, Tax Parcels, and Recreation Sites.
All cartographic information is contained in these layers. However, if we had only the cartographic information then we would have a Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) system. GIS allows for the powerful addition of tabular information to be attached to the GIS layers.