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Geographic information systems (GIS) are fundamentally concerned with building shared understandings of the world in ways that are robust, transparent, and, above all, usable in a range of real-world settings. As such, GIS is an applied-problem-solving technology that allows us to create and share generalized representations of the world. Through real-world applications at geographic scales of measurement (i.e., from the architectural to the global), GIS can provide spatial representations that tell us the defining characteristics of large spaces and large numbers of individuals and are usable to a wide range of end users. They allow us to address significant problems of society and the environment using explicitly spatial data, information, evidence, and knowledge. They not only tell us about how the world looks but, ...

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