Geospatial technologies are interesting and powerful tools used to locate and understand the position of resources on Earth. The Global Positioning System (GPS) can help users find their location, mark a feature or find a point of interest. Hikers can trace their trip, drivers can find their destination and geocachers can find a hidden cache.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) use GPS data to help scientists, planners, government officials and others understand the importance of geographic location as they analyze a site. Natural resource managers may look at the distribution of an invasive species after the location of individual plants has been recorded in a GPS unit. Urban planners may alter development plans after analyzing the potential for flooding in a certain area. Students may use a GIS to analyze litter scattered around their school grounds and suggest possible locations for trash and recycling containers. Both GPS and GIS technologies help users answer the question “Why?” when they analyze geographic information.