A geographic information system (GIS) is a framework for gathering, managing and analysing data. Rooted in the science of geography, GIS integrates many types of data\u2014it analyses spatial location and organises layers of information into visualisations using maps and 3D scenes. \u201cGIS reveals deeper insights into data, such as patterns, relationships, and situations\u2014helping users make smarter decisions,\u201d says Michael Gould, Global Education Manager, Esri Inc\u2014the supplier of GIS software, web GIS and geodatabase management applications. In an interview with FE\u2019s Vikram Chaudhary, he adds how GIS is helping students become better at whatever career they choose. What is the right time a student should start learning GIS? We work with kids as young as 8-9 years old. They don\u2019t need to become technology experts at that age, but they can start thinking spatially\u2014distance, connectivity, how to use maps, angles, etc. In general, if you know maps and if you understand geography, you tend to be smarter, you tend to think in ways others maybe cannot, and you can understand the world quantitatively. How does GIS help in higher studies? GIS brings together multiple technologies and helps students manipulate data better. GIS also leads to developing better teamwork skills among the students\u2014they take field trips, collate the data, discuss with team members \u2026 this process leads to better teamwork. Also Read:\u00a0How a degree in political leadership can help you land a job in several new fields What all activities Esri India is undertaking right now? Our software is deployed in 350,000 organisations, including the world\u2019s largest cities and most national governments. In India, we have initiatives such as the GIS Academia Council of India, which brings together thought leaders from the academia to address the social, economic, business and environmental issues that impact our world by applying geography. Then we have the mApp Your Way. It\u2019s an annual application development challenge organised by Esri India for students (UG, PG, and researchers) associated with the institutions that are users of geospatial technology. By participating in the challenge, students get to interact and work with GIS experts under Esri India\u2019s mentorship programme. We also have the K-12 initiative that aims to encourage GIS and geographic learning in K-12 schools through ArcGIS Online (mapping and analytics platform) into classrooms across the country. Our GeoMentor Program identifies passionate GIS users who are willing to work as an extended arm to Esri India\u2019s K-12 initiative and work with schools in their region. Do you also work with universities? Under the Esri India GIS Academy Program (EIGAP), we engage with academic institutions to help them with the current technology tools and train them to augment their efforts in building the right skilled capacity for the geospatial industry. It is focused on helping institutions set up a GIS lab to impart key GIS skills to students. We also conduct workshops and seminars for students to inform them about the advances in GIS technology, and provide relevant curriculum recommendations on GIS and related technologies. Is GIS, in itself, a career? In broader policymaking, GIS is important\u2014you cannot design, implement or monitor policies if you don\u2019t take into consideration the geographical spread. As far as career is concerned, it depends on the objective of a student, say, someone who is planning a career in anything related to geography or geomatics engineering. GIS, essentially, helps you become a better X\u2014the X can be an economist, transportation planner, public health person, someone working in forestry and so on. An analogy is that we all are using computers to be better at whatever we are doing, even though not all of us are computer scientists or software\/hardware engineers.