Skip to main content


This chapter reviews data manipulation and analysis capabilities within a GIS. The focus is on reviewing spatial data analytical functions. This chapter categorizes analytical functions within a GIS and will be of most interest to technical staff and GIS operators.

Manipulation and Transformation of Spatial Data
Integration and Modeling of Spatial Data
Integrated Analytical Functions

The major difference between GIS software and CAD mapping software is the provision of capabilities for transforming the original spatial data in order to be able to answer particular queries. Some transformation capabilities are common to both GIS and CAD systems, however, GIS software provides a larger range of analysis capabilities that will be able to operate on the topology or spatial aspects of the geographic data, on the non-spatial attributes of these data, or on both.

The main criteria used to define a GIS is its capability to transform and integrate spatial data.