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GIS Concept # 1: Features have attributes associated with them.

Images and text for this section GIS Concept # 1 and # 2 are courtesy of Geocortex Compass

Image: Courtesy of Geocortex Compass

Imagine a tree. How would you keep track of and communicate information about this tree to other people who need to know all about it?

You might use a database to keep track of what species it is, how old it is, how tall it is, how healthy it is, and any other attributes that are important. This tree is one record in a database. We call each category (i.e. tree height) a field.

Now imagine a grove of trees that you need to keep track of attributes for.

Because we are now dealing with more than one tree, it becomes relevant where each tree is so we know what information relates to which tree.

We map the location of each tree and identify which attributes belong to which tree. This is the foundation of GIS. A GIS tells us where something is? and what it is? Computers are synonymous with GIS, and using a computer we can have hundreds of fields (different attributes) for millions of records (trees).

You will be able to examine the attributes of features as you navigate BGIS maps.