An operational GIS also has a series of components that combine to make the system work. These components are critical to a successful GIS. These include: Hardware, software, data, people, methods/procedures
Hardware is the computer system on which a GIS Today, GIS software runs on a wide range of hardware types, from centralized computer servers to desktop computers used in stand-alone or networked configurations.
GIS software provides the functions and tools needed to store, analyze, and display geographic information. A review of the key GIS software subsystems is provided above.
Perhaps the most important component of a GIS is the Geographic data and related tabular data can be collected in-house, compiled to custom specifications and requirements, or occasionally purchased from a commercial data provider. A GIS can integrate spatial data with other existing data resources, often stored in a corporate DBMS. The integration of spatial data (often proprietary to the GIS software), and tabular data stored in a DBMS is a key functionality afforded by GIS.
GIS technology is of limited value without the people who manage the system and develop plans for applying it to real-world GIS users ranging from technical specialists who design and maintain the system to those who use it to help them perform their everyday work. The identification of GIS specialists versus end users is often critical to the proper implementation of GIS technology.
A successful GIS operates according to a well-designed implementation plan and business rules, which are the models and operating practices unique to each organization.