Geographical Information System or GIS is a type of information system that is used to capture, store, analyze, manage and present data which are linked to a certain location. In simple terms, what GIS does is that it is capable of integrating, storing, editing, analyzing, sharing and displaying geographically referenced information. One of the more popular GIS applications that are being used nowadays is Google Earth, where users can navigate on it to perform interactive queries, edit data, maps, analyze spatial information and present the results real-time.
GIS applications also play a major role in scientific investigations, urban planning, logistics, cartography, geographic history, resource management, environmental impact assessment and marketing among others. With its huge contribution to different fields of work and study, there is no doubt that a lot of software developers have come up with their own GIS software application. Some GIS software programs are for free (open-source software), while others are being distributed by organizations for their employees to use such as government and military entities.
Metadata is one of the important components of GIS. Indeed, GIS data is more than just a computerized map as it also provides information about spatial location and relationships (e.g. topology, coordinates) and attribute (descriptive) information about geographic features. Now, this is where metadata comes in. To better assist users in navigating through any GIS software application, metadata provides description to a specific location. This is indeed an advantage to users because not only spatial information and attribute information will be made available, but metadata information as well. The integration of metadata to GIS software programs is another technological breakthrough that makes life less complicated.