The short answer: GIS is making interesting and informative maps with data. The longer answer: GIS is a collection of computer hardware, software, and geographic data used to capture, manage, analyze, and display all forms of geographically referenced information.
While GIS technology is an obvious tool for geographers, a growing number of people from other disciplines are finding ways to incorporate GIS into their work. During the 2012-2014 Academic Years, faculty used GIS in their courses for the following subjects: Liberal Studies (Geography), Sociology, Political Science, History, Kinesiology, Biology, Anthropology, Marketing, Visual & Performing Arts, Physics and Economics.
CSUSM partners with other CSU campuses to receive GIS software and support through the California State University GIS Specialty Center. Member CSU campuses participate in a software site license with Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) for GIS software. Benefits include access to training and complimentary registrations for the ESRI User and Education User Conferences. Perhaps most importantly, the GIS Specialty Center promotes intercampus dialogue on teaching, research and application issues within the field of Geographic Information Science. Professor Theresa Suarez (Sociology) is the CSUSM Representative to the GIS Specialty Center Board.