GIS is an information system designed to capture, model, analyze, and display data referenced by geographic coordinates. GIS provides the ability to overlay data fields and represent them visually (in the form of a map) to the user. Understanding and interpreting information that is displayed in a map format may be easier for several reasons.
Traditionally information is shared in a table format with columnar appearance. GIS provides the ability to break apart complex information into several pieces and present data in a spatial layout, which offers a great deal of information at a glance. The user-friendly format may increase the satisfaction with data and use of data by child welfare staff. Also, as users become more skilled in using GIS a considerable amount of time may be saved during points of critical decision-making. Currently GIS is abundantly used in the fields of environment, energy, and geographical surveys, but the social policy planning communities are quickly discovering the benefits of GIS as well.