If you are new to GIS and are interested in finding out more then there many facilities available on the internet to help get you started. If you prefer to read a book about GIS then you could do no better than obtain a copy of “Getting to know ArcGIS desktop”. This book covers the main GIS application areas and fortunately does not anticipate that you know much about the subject when you begin reading. Just reading the book without doing any of the exercises will give you a flavour of what GIS can do for your own personal or business requirements. There are chapters clearly explaining what GIS is and how it can help solve many geo-spatial problems. Of course not everybody has the time or inclination to read this sort of instructional manual, especially as it is almost 600 pages in length. In that case your alternative strategy may be to take one of the many training courses available on GIS. These courses can give you a very good grounding in the functionality of GIS systems through a couple of days training. Then it is up to you to put what you have learnt into practice.
Joe Short BSc has been involved with various mapping solutions since 1993. If you are considering implementing a GIS or have ArcGIS, MapInfo or Quantum GIS training requirements I would be happy to be of assistance to your organisation.