Geographic Information System (GIS)
A geographic information system (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced data and information. GIS allows one to input, integrate, analyze, model, interpret, and visualize spatial data in ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, reports, and charts. A GIS helps answer questions, solve problems, and even market new research ideas by observing spatial data in a way that is easily understood and shared.
ISIS is in the early stages of acquiring and integrating up-to-date, highest spatial resolution available, state-wide (Texas), digital geospatial data sets (i.e., ecological systems, geology, topography, hydrology, land cover, protected areas, etc.) into a GIS that will be appropriate for the study and management of invasive species. These maps will initially be used to display point data gathered by citizen scientists and researchers that report the location of existing and new communities of invasive species. The primary objective is to eventually be able to supply the scientific and greater user community with geospatial data that are suitable for input to ecological niche models. These models describe environmental conditions under which invasive species should be able to maintain populations. As input, these models use a set of point locations where invasive species are known to exist (i.e., in their originating country/region) and a set of corresponding geographic map layers representing the associated environmental parameters that might represent a species preference to establish. The end result is an invasive species prediction model and/or map. These predictive maps are particularly useful to field teams that are responsible for monitoring the spread of invasive species and conducting associated early response actions.