GIS through history

    On the walls of caves near Lascaux, France, Cro-Magnon hunters drew pictures of the animals they hunted 35,000 years ago.

    Associated with the animal drawings are track lines and tallies thought to depict migration routes. These early records followed the two element structure of modern geographic information systems: a graphic file linked to an attribute data base.

    Today, biologists use collar transmitters and satellite receivers to track the migration routes of caribou and polar bears to help design programs to protect the animals. In a GIS, the migration routes were indicated by different colors for each month for 21 months.

    Researchers then used the GIS to superimpose the migration routes on maps of oil development plans to determine the potential for interference with the animals.