About Muskegon County GIS

Muskegon County's GIS program began in 1998 with a proposal to begin digitizing the property tax maps being maintained by the Equalization Department. From that humble start, the GIS program has developed into a full enterprise-wide solution for departments and municipalities throughout Muskegon County.  Now consisting of over 300 individual layers, and more than 15 raster datasets (imagery layers), Muskegon County GIS has developed into an embedded part of the day to day business practices of County departments and local municapalities alike. 

So I still want to know... What is GIS? 
A definition from Wikipedia?

A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of spatial or geographical data. The acronym GIS is sometimes used for geographical information science or geospatial information studies to refer to the academic discipline or career of working with geographic information systems and is a large domain within the broader academic discipline of Geoinformatics.  What goes beyond a GIS is a spatial data infrastructure, a concept that has no such restrictive boundaries.

In a general sense, the term describes any information system that integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares, and displays geographic information. GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries (user-created searches), analyze spatial information, edit data in maps, and present the results of all these operations. Geographic information science is the science underlying geographic concepts, applications, and systems.

GIS is a broad term that can refer to a number of different technologies, processes, and methods. It is attached to many operations and has many applications related to engineering, planning, management, transport/logistics, insurance, telecommunications, and business.  For that reason, GIS and location intelligence applications can be the foundation for many location-enabled services that rely on analysis and visualization.

GIS can relate unrelated information by using location as the key index variable. Locations or extents in the Earth space–time may be recorded as dates/times of occurrence, and x, y, and z coordinates representing, longitude, latitude, and elevation, respectively. All Earth-based spatial–temporal location and extent references should, ideally, be relatable to one another and ultimately to a "real" physical location or extent. This key characteristic of GIS has begun to open new avenues of scientific inquiry. 

For additional information on GIS, check out the following resources.

ESRI, or Environmental Systems Research Institute is the leading GIS software company in the world.  Check out their introductory information on what is GIS.

  What is GIS?