Geographic Information Systems (Gis)

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Submitted To
Mark Stallo
School of Graduate Studies
Of Tiffin University

In partial fulfillment of the
requirement for the graduate course
Geographic Information Systems
ENF 622

In the School of Criminal Justice

Summer Quarter 2006


Oscar Young

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
And Terrorist Attacks Of Oklahoma City Bombing
And The World Trade Center

History of GIS

GIS is a way of organizing large amounts of geographic information. It is not a tool, a software, a hardware or a specific image; it is a concept--a way of understanding maps ( Maps are one of the most common products of GIS. Figure 1 is an example of how GIS is a way of conceiving maps as layers of information.

Figure 1. On the left is enlarged piece of the same Nile Delta map from before, and on the right in an annotated version of the same map showing how GIS would categorize the features of the map (

"Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are computerized systems for the storage, retrieval, manipulation, analysis, and display of geographically referenced data" ( It is a powerful system that procures data from many sources; changes the data into a variety of useful formats; stores the data; retrieves and manipulates the data for analysis; and then generates output required by a given user ( "Although its antecedents go back hundreds of years in the fields of cartography and mapping, GIS as such began in the 1960's" (http://www. and has undergone phenomenal growth in sophistication, size, and popularity. GIS has become a basic information infrastructure for private enterprises, government agencies, and academic institutions ( geographic -information-systems-csci-03.html).

In 1950, the first American reconnaissance satellite (spy satellite) was used during the Corona Project in which the USA took overland photos of denied areas of the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the United States realized "that space was ‘free' from red-tape and negotiations" ( "To slow the arms race, dispel rumors and estimates on Russian strength, and make preparations in case the unthinkable takes place the Corona satellite system was developed" ( After many failures and improve-ments, the Corona system achieved complete success on its thirteenth launch—meaning that the system worked flawlessly. The system would not be fully declassified and its impact acknowledged until 1996. "Later developments of the system led to better spatial resolution, longer mission lengths, and better enlargement capabilities . . ." (http://www.csupomona. edu/~sjlawdis).

Before the Corona system, other reconnaissance projects utilized well into the 1950's included (1) Reconnaissance Balloon Programs which included Project Gopher, the first system to photograph the interior of the USSR, and Project Moby Dick, a mid-air recovery system developed for film canisters dropped from balloons using C-119 Flying Boxcar cargo planes and (2) Airplane Reconnaissance Programs which included a low altitude spy-airplane designed solely for photographing the interior of the USSR and the U-2 Spy-Plane, a high altitude airplane designed by Lockheed ‘Skunkworks', "designed solely for photographing denied territory deep within Soviet interiors" (http://www. csupomona. edu/~sjlawdis). However, due to the unpredictability of the balloon systems—most of the time they photographed areas of Siberia and Northern China—and the launch Sputnik I on October 4, 1957, the need for a satellite system was...
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