I read a great article in the Winter 2006/2007 ArcNews recently. I want to republish one section of it here because it so clearly defines the purpose of GIS in the world today.
GIS Is a New Medium
"GIS is becoming a new medium for humans to understand, communicate, and collaborate.
GIS is being used to model the physical and cultural knowledge of our world, breaking it down into components and subsystems, providing us with systematic knowledge, and integrative framework, analytic methods, and intuitive visualization. GIS is attractive to humans because it responds to both cognitive as well as intuitive dimensions of understanding. GIS creates order and meaning. It is helping us define interconnections and interdependencies, and it provides a broad understanding of nature and human ecology.
GIS is influencing how we see things and how we respond. It is helping us build a common understanding, creating a sense of engagement, providing greater science and logic, and improving accuracy and realism. Finally, because GIS is integrating with real-time data or "sources", it is providing immediacy." (Dangermond, ArcNews, 2007)
It is truly an exciting time to be working in GIS. A running story at our office about our company inception is that "we were creating a new application a week" using GIS and Remote Sensing. With all of the questions that can be answered using GIS today, this rate of solution creation is quite realistic.