A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a system for creating, storing, analyzing, managing and presenting spatial data and its associated attributes. It is a system used in scientific investigations (such as weather analysis and environmental effects), resource management, asset management (such as property), cartography and routing.
In the past GIS consisted of physical maps such as hand-drawn or Sanborn maps. Today's GIS is mostly electronic with data being digitized from physical maps and autogeneration of maps using LIDAR, GPS, and standard photography.
The new face of GIS has also merged with standard database management, as we see with spatial relational databases. The next trend in GIS is the folding of n-dimensional and time-dimensional data.
I predict in the future we will see the rise of other non-standard uses of GIS technology such as in the analysis of protein folding, brain activity, physical phenomena and other space containing structures that do not have earthly coordinates.