GIS for Dummies - Thanksgiving Style

Blog Post created by MidnightYell2003 Champion on Nov 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! (at least, it is Thanksgiving time in the US). I thought this would give me a fun chance to write a blog post on “GIS for Dummies”, but with a cooking/recipe twist, Thanksgiving style. Some folks at my office and I came up with this idea and this would be a good place to share it.


For starters, this is GIS:


GIS: A Map, But More Than a Map

  • A way to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, and present data
  • A series of layered geospatial data organized in one space
  • A way to solve problems and answer complex questions


However, let’s make it fun so that anyone can understand.


GIS for Dummies Recipe




  • 4 parts Database
  • 1 1/2 parts Geographic Data
    • Points, Lines, Polygons, Rasters, DEM, and 3D Data
  • 1 part Data from Forms / Spreadsheets (Tabular Data)
    • Address Lists, GPS Coordinates, and Files
  • 1/2 part Basemap
    • Satellite Imagery, Street Map, Topography
  • 3 parts Graphics
    • Graphical User Interface (GUI) and Mapping Tools



  • In a large Database: Stir Geographic Data with Tabular Information
    • Geocoding, Database Design, Make Event Layers
  • Select a non-stick User Interface and press Basemap evenly into the Corners



  • Preheat the GIS toolbox to Automate Tasks using Models or Scripts
  • Divide Data mixture evenly into Feature Layers
  • Sift and Fold the Feature Layers into Geoprocessing and Analysis tools
    • Perform Analyses, Generate Statistics, and Analyze Networks


Finishing Touches

  • Glaze with Thematic and Map Elements to tell the Story
    • Symbols, Labels, Layout, Legend, North Arrow, and Scale Bar
  • Trim excess and Overlay Layers
    • Demonstrate Statistical Hotspots and Illustrate Spatial Patterns
  • Cool the map on a Web Server for Publishing
    • Interactive Maps highlight Spatially and Temporally Dynamic data
  • When baking at a high altitude, use Custom Widgets to show Data Trends
  • Decision-makers see Correlations and answer Complex Questions


(this image was too cool not to post! source: decoist.com)


I would love to hear what y’all think about this and would love to hear of anything I should add/take away from this as well. I can continue to update it.  


title Image source: pixabay.com