This paper serves as the foundation for establishing Geographical Information System (GIS) standards. The purpose of these standards and guidelines is to promote the compatibility and interchange of digital spatial data among the users of GIS. Digital spatial data standards are important to promote the development of a high quality, well-documented GIS database. These standards and procedures will provide guidelines for agencies in acquiring, developing and processing data. They will also ensure a higher confidence level to managers making decisions based on GIS data.
The main body of the paper defines GIS and addresses some of the issues and problems of GIS. GIS is considered to be complex, not only by its nature, but also by its rapid technological growth in the current computing environment.
Some of the topics discussed here include CAD/GIS/desktop mapping differences, data models, attribute data, metadata, data sharing, the current GIS environment, implications and options, financial modeling, and relevant principles. The standards will provide additional specific information concerning the state of GIS. Throughout this document, the terms "must", "shall", and "will", identify a standard. Permissive wording such as "can", "may", and "should", identify a guideline.