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 Working definition of GIS: geographic information system ​(GIS) lets us visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to ​understand relationships, patterns, and trends.

​1. Reference Maps

​Reference maps can vary in their complexity and size, but generally include just the various geographic features that give a picture of the area being mapped, e.g. political boundaries, cities, topographic features and/or transportation routes.

2. Thematic Maps

There are Three Broad Categories of Maps:

​A thematic map, as its name suggests, has a specific theme or purpose in mind.  ​ This group of maps is extremely diverse. Thematic maps can vary in topic, complexity, purpose and kind of representation. They generally show characteristics, or attributes, of features that vary spatially. The attribute can vary in a qualitative or nominal way, e.g. categories of land cover; or the attribute can vary in a quantitative way, e.g. amount of precipitation. 

​Special-Purpose maps lie somewhat between reference maps and thematic maps as they are often reference-like in their use but are made for specific types of users or pertain to a specific type of data. Navigational maps, like those in road atlases or nautical/aeronautic charts, are considered special-purpose maps​.

3. ​Special-Purpose Maps

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