GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM (GIS)

A digital information system that is designed to work with data referenced by spatial or geographic coordinates.

GEOGRAPHIC POSITION

Refers to horizontal coordinates as well as elevation of objects and features.

GEOGRAPHY

An integrative discipline that brings together the physical and human dimensions of the world in the study of people, places, and environments. Its subject matter is Earth’s surface and the processes that shape it, the relationships between people and environments, and the connections between people and places.

GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM (GPS)

A network of satellites controlled by the U.S. Department of Defense that is designed to help aerial and ground-based units with an appropriate receiver determine their current location.

GSM

An acronym for Global System of Mobile Communication, one of several competing standards for mobile telephones.


INFORMATION

Data that humans assimilate and evaluate to solve a problem or to make a decision.


LEGACY DATA

Maps, aerial photographs, reports, and other documents that often function as baseline information.

LOCAL AREA NETWORK

Personal computers linked into a network in a limited geographic area, such as a building or campus, as distinguished from a wide area network or stand-alone computers.


METADATA

A term used to describe information about data. Metadata usually includes information on data quality, currency, lineage, ownership, and feature classification.


OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE

Software for which the original or source code is freely available to the user or other interested parties. Most commercial software firms make the original source code available only under specific circumstances, usually to collaborating firms, providing the user with only a machine readable version of the software that is difficult to read and/or modify. In some cases, most notably Linux, an open source operating system, large communities have formed around the development and maintenance of specific open source software packages. Open source software is of special interest to developing countries in that its development and maintenance cost is born by communities of volunteers, and it is available without charge, or with minimal charges for the provision of disks, manuals, and support.

ORTHO-IMAGE

A specially processed image prepared from an aerial photograph or remotely sensed image that has the metric qualities of a traditional line map with the rich detail of an aerial image.


PENETRATION

The degree to which a technology has penetrated a community or country. Indicators of penetration include the number of points of presence (i.e., points at which calls are routed for transmission by a long-distance, interexchange carrier), the percentage of organizations of a given type (e.g. businesses, schools, health centers) that have access to a service or the number of secondary cities that have Internet service providers in a country.

PHOTOGRAMMETRY

The art, science, and technology of obtaining reliable information about physical objects and the environment through the processes of recording, measuring, and interpreting photographic images and patterns of electromagnetic radiant energy and other phenomena.

PLACE-BASED STUDIES

The systematic analysis of social, economic, political, and environmental processes operating in a place that provides an integrated understanding of its distinctiveness or character.


RADAR INTERFEROMETRY

A technique in which two radar images are taken from slightly different locations and differences between these images allow for the calculation of surface elevation.

REMOTE-SENSING

The measurement or acquisition of information of some property of an object or phenomenon, by a recording device that is not in physical or intimate contact with the object or phenomenon under study.

RESOLUTION

A way of detecting variation. In remote-sensing, there is spatial resolution (the variation caused by distance separating adjacent pixels), spectral resolution (the variation caused by the spectral responses within a wavelength band), and temporal resolution (the variation caused by time over the same location).

RIFT VALLEY FEVER (RVF)

An acute, fever-causing viral disease that affects domestic animals (such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels) and humans. RVF is most commonly associated with mosquito-borne epidemics during years of heavy rainfall. RVF is generally found in regions of eastern and southern Africa where sheep and cattle are raised. RVF virus also exists in most countries of sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar.


SCHISTOSOMIASIS

One of the major communicable diseases of public health and socio-economic importance in the developing world. Direct mortality is relatively low, but the disease burden is high in terms of chronic pathology and disability. The distribution is particularly related to large-scale water development. Despite control efforts in a num-



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