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Written by Professor Richard Harris, Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are computerised systems for the collection, storage, analysis and presentation of geographical information in digital form. At their simplest, they are used to display and to interact with digital maps. However, there is more to GIS than mapping. They are used to analyse and to extract meaning from geographical data, doing so by harnessing the power of location – knowing what happens and where.


This worksheet has four main aims:

  1. To stress the importance of GIS in the geography curricula at GCSE, AS and A-level

  2. To provide an introduction to GIS that can be used in a classroom context

  3. To consider how population geographies and population change in the UK can be analysed and viewed using an online mapping tool

  4. To provide a short tutorial on how to map crime data easily


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An Introduction to Geographical Information Systems


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