There was a question raised two years ago which was in the vicinity of this one but it was focussed on the term geomatics.

I noticed two Remote Sensing questions today in quick succession:

  1. How do I classify or spot a pixel, based on a specific reflectance values of the six Landsat Bands using Erdas?
  2. How to mask clouds in ER Mapper?

I notice that we do not have a tag for but (x 43), (x 15) and (x 84) are established. The Tour says:

The Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is for questions concerning geographic information systems and science. We welcome cartographers, database administrators, geographers, programmers, and anyone interested in or using GIS.

Questions on Remote Sensing and/or Image Processing (or for that matter Surveying) are not explicitly in or out of scope for the site. I would not want to see the brand of GIS Stack Exchange diluted by changing its name from a clear focus on Geographic Information Systems but could the FAQ perhaps be tweaked to say:

The Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is for questions concerning GIS software. We welcome scientists, cartographers, image analysts, database administrators, geographers, programmers, surveyors and anyone interested in or using GIS.

  • 4
    I have made use of Remote Sensing in GIS for data capture the basic need of data was not available from any other source at the time. Remote Sensing is a subset of GIS 'capture' as is photogrammetry
    – Mapperz Mod
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 13:36
  • 2
    Including all image processing may be stepping on some toes at the signal processing site. The kinds of image processing usually considered by GIS people are a tiny, specialized subset of the field.
    – whuber
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 15:36
  • 4
    One way to filter "is this Q on or off topic?" is by the software environment or toolset, meaning if someone is trying to use Arcmap or Qgis or Saga to apply some kind of imagery process or analysis, it's likely on topic. If it's a dedicated remote sensing program, perhaps not. (RS programs unnamed as I don't know them ;-). Ditto for surveying. Commented May 1, 2013 at 16:05
  • 2
    Nice idea, @matt. Perhaps that should be the primary determinant of everything that's on-topic: if the question is related to the use of GIS software, it belongs here. If we include coercing non-GIS software to perform GIS analyses (R's raster package is a good example), that could be a sufficiently broad criterion.
    – whuber
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 21:56
  • Since no votes have been cast or answers provided yet I have absorbed the above comments into a revised question.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 22:46
  • 1
    +1 for the question (to raise up this discussion). I think we should give equal importance to GIS's subjects such as: i) software, ii) science and iii) applied uses. Commented May 2, 2013 at 21:16
  • The Tour now starts "Geographic Information Systems is a question and answer site for people interested in GIS, Remote Sensing, Photogrammetry, Geodesy and Surveying" so I am setting status-completed.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 1:29

1 Answer 1


I prefer the original "geographic information systems and science" to "GIS software". What about people who are performing spatial analysis without software? Granted, there are not many of those people and I don't want to be one of them, but the science they're performing and techniques they're using are the foundations of analysis in GIS software. As far as I'm concerned, questions about the specific techniques in a spatial analysis process are on-topic, even if done by hand.

So far as listing the job titles (cartographers, geographers, etc.) goes, I think we could end up with a very long list of disciplines that might use GIS. I don't think we need to try to include every one.

  • 1
    I think GIS is pivotal to science but not a science itself which is why I was happy to drop science from the first sentence. I think people doing manual GIS is covered in the second sentence where the word software does not appear. I would not add any more examples of professions likely to be found in our community lightly.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 12:53
  • 3
    My vote is still for no change to the FAQ (at least not the proposed ones).
    – user3461
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 13:43

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