Geographic Information Systems
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a data anylysis method that integrates hardware, software, and data for the analysis of geographically-concerned data. It is an essential and prominent aspect of modern mapmaking, or cartography.
Applications of GIS
GIS is useful for any spatial analysis, and therefore has a wide range of uses. Academic researchers such as archaeologists or biologists can utilize GIS to create 3d models of archaeological dig sites or species distribution, for example. There is a high demand for experts in GIS in a multitude of public and private sectors due to the ability of GIS to utilize diverse types of datasets for the mapping and analysis of any spatial phenomena.
Due to the inherently destructive nature of archaeology (once a site is dug it is impossible to reexamine it as a whole), archaeologists find it helpful to plot their site in GIS, utilizing careful measurements to plot a 3d model of the artifacts they recover in the positions they were in before the dig. In doing this, they have a complete model to utilize year-round in research. This is helpful, because many conclusions made about a site of habitation depend on the relative location of artifacts to one another, e.g. many types of charred bones could indicate a hearth or a trash pile, while concentrations of domestic items could suggest a home or workspace.
Utility companies deal with the distribution of electricity, water, etc. along networks. By mapping these networks in GIS, one is able to do spatial analysis to determine coverage deficiencies or best practices for expansion. The applications of GIS in this context have been referred to as the 4Ms: modeling, mapping, maintenance, and and monitoring 
Issues of Social Concern
Social phenomena that are measured like crime rates, poverty, education levels, segregation, etc. can be mapped spatially to serve as a tool for analysis. By providing a visual representation of geographic concentrations of various phenomena, correlations can be drawn and efforts can be focused on microcommunity-specific problems in order to affect maximum change