As you will see from the URL and banner at the top of this site, and in the picture below which uses our updated site theme, we mix its branding as Geographic Information Systems and GIS.

This is natural because GIS is an abbreviation for Geographic Information Systems.

At the moment we tend to use Geographic Information Systems far more in our branding than we do the much shorter GIS.

I am assuming that this was a decision taken early in our site history.

Is there a case for branding exclusively with one or other, is the mix we use now already perfect, or is there a different mix of branding that may suit our current requirements better?

enter image description here

  • 1
    automatic abbreviation would be gold...seeing only half of the full term in e.g. search boxes or the likes does annoy me more and more...now that you mention it ,) just a thought: could the title have highlighted letters (Geographic Information Systems) in case of a rebranding to GIS? not sure how that would look like...
    – geozelot
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 15:34

2 Answers 2


I think the mix of GIS and Geographic Information Systems is about right.

The URL is good in short form - I certainly wouldn't want it to be spelled out in full. My vote here is for gis.stackexchange.com over geographicinformationsystems.stackexchange.com

The site name in full as Geographic Information Systems gives a lot more information that just GIS - People know what geography is, and information systems, so wouldn't normally take too much thought to figure out what Geographic Information Systems is. But if I were to look for it as GIS without knowing what that was I probably wouldn't find it. So my vote here is for the name of the site to remain Geographic Information Systems.

One potential change that I could think of is to somehow include GIS in the branding alongside the full name. I'm not sure quite how that could be incorporated, but could be as simple (although possibly untidy) as Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

  • Agree, except that I think it is not necessary to append the acronym where the name is already spelled out. Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 14:22
  • 1
    @AndreSilva yes I think I'm probably with you on that, it was an afterthought just along the lines of what Polygeo said about people who know the GIS acronym and not the full name, but I do think it would be better without it.
    – Midavalo Mod
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 14:26
  • I used to index (make up and assign) software tags. We started with the entire spelled out phrase plus (GIS) because that was our standard on other acronym-type terms. It could improve search results in a browser to do it this way, but I don't see the need to do this within a site or page as long as "geographic" is not completely removed. This site will show up high in most search results.
    – danak
    Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 20:23

There are at least four places where I think the long form of Geographic Information Systems is cumbersome and would be better abbreviated:

  • In the site name at top left where GIS and GIS Meta takes much less space than Geographic Information Systems and Geographic Information Systems Meta.
  • In the Search bar where Search on GIS takes much less space than Search on Geographic Information Systems.
  • In the magic link for GIS SE where you can type [gis.se] into a comment and have it expand into a link to our site labelled Geographic Information Systems which takes many more characters than GIS. If you are not aware of this magic link, then try it.
  • Using the much shorter GIS would save ourselves considerable screen real estate on mobile devices. See screenshot (below) from Geographic Information Systems Meta on my iPhone 5S (it just fits when I test on an iPhone XR).

enter image description here

I would introduce anyone new to our site, who is also new to the term GIS, to its longer form in the Tour by:

  • making the heading Welcome to GIS Stack Exchange instead of Welcome to Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange
  • making the first sentence start as:
    • "GIS is a question and answer site for people interested in Geographic Information Systems, ..."; instead of
    • "Geographic Information Systems is a question and answer site for people interested in GIS, ..."

One drawback of using the long form everywhere that we do today manifests itself in this answer to GIS's updated site theme is live! where Meta could easily fit next to an abbreviated site name of GIS.

  • What phone is used for that screenshot PolyGeo? Everything in that shot feels too big, and I wonder if it's an older model or very small screen? On my phone I see Geographic Information Systems Meta with room to spare, and the question list is also much smaller and easier to read.
    – Midavalo Mod
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 21:56
  • @Midavalo it's an iPhone 5S. There do not seem to be any accessibility, font size, etc settings that are other than default.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 22:28

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