While the history of cartography stretches back into human prehistory, the modern practice of map-making is centered around the use of digital tools, creating what are referred to as Geographic Information Systems (GIS). These digital methods of visualizing space and location present a multitude of opportunities for the representation of spatial data from a number of academic disciplines.
In addition to visualization of cartographic information, many GIS software platforms include toolkits for the analysis of spatial data. Investigating geospatial data can reveal trends across space and time, and even be employed to predict future trends and points of interest from existing data.
Commonly Used Techniques in GIS Include:
Georeferencing: the process of assigning real-world coordinates to an image file. This process is commonly used to overlay aerial photographs or historic maps over a modern, digital map file.
Spatial Autocorrelation: a statistical measure that indicates if a set of features on a map have a tendency to cluster together, or to spread apart.
Interpolation: the process of using known spatial information to predict or estimate missing information.