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The geographic information system is playing an important role in helping global efforts to preserve the environment as well as responding to major disasters, and the program is evolving to be more sophisticated with real-time data sent from billions of sensors and mobile phone users, a provider says.

Michael Gould, director of higher education and industry solutions at the Environmental Systems Research Institute, a leading provider of the GIS software, said in a recent interview that the system is aiding relief efforts in quake-hit Haiti by providing the latest maps of the affected areas.

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