I se the term GIS being used for professional applications, while there is a growing interest on applications (online or desktop) that use Web Maps and User-Generated GPS Data so that individuals can plan, navigate and analyze their activities, which include sports activities such as cycling, where each trackpoint has one or more measurements (heart rate, power, etc.)

There are already some file-format standards for that (GPX, KML with gx:Tracks) and lots of sites about it too.

What seems to be lacking is an explicit conceptual unity among these overlapping applications and their respective application schemas, and that is something I am very inspired to research and study (mostly as a hobby).

But what should I look for, that is, which terms or words should I google, if I want to find discussions about these types of applications? How are they named or cathegorized?

(Edit: I couldn't even find proper, more specific tags for this question... :o) )

Yet another edit: This excerpt from OGC Abstract Specification, Topic 5 - Features translates my thoughts about what I said formerly in the question:

The use requirements of geospatial content for an information community always reflect the specific discipline or disciplines of their owners. Examples of geospatial disciplines in which geospatial abstractions are frequently found include forest management, soil mapping, cadastre management, base cartography, surface hydrology, wetlands, transportation modeling, and so forth. Each of these disciplines has many sub-disciplines, and an information community can involve any combination of these.

It is exactly the multiplicity of languages at the Project World level that leads to the most difficult problems in interoperability between geospatial information stores. This is the source of much of the splintering that artificially divides the Geospatial World. The situation is manageable, however, if sufficient care is taken in the formalization of the language constructs. We will see that each Geospatial Information Community is intimately related to an equivalence class in the set of all possible Project Worlds under a special relation.

The Information Community are any sort of enthusiasts GPS users who want to plan and analyze their activities using a computer, and Project World would be the sort of features (DEMs, Roads, POIs, Tracks).

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    i dont think there is a specific term for GIS that are built for a specific activity, maybe you can try to search for "bike map tracking application" or "hiking map tracking application" or "bike GPS application" etc... – Below the Radar Jun 6 '14 at 18:36
  • @BelowtheRadar yes totally agree with you. By the way GIS are now more and more used by non professionnal. GIS is the generic term for all mapping application. – DemarsM Jun 6 '14 at 19:38
  • It's just software for basic data. We've been held back by crazy legacies for so long we think it's normal not to have access to basic tools. I think you're struggling to name this because it just should be part of the normal everyday habits of people to use "map stuff". Things are changing. – mdsumner Jun 6 '14 at 23:25
  • @DemarsM I partially disagree with you. All GIS software could be considered a mapping application, but not all mapping applications could be considered GIS software. I think some confusion stems from use of 'GIS' to describe a field or subject versus a specific software type. I understand what you and helton (in comment to my answer) mean, but to offer another analogy: If I want a shed built, I look for a carpenter - not just a hammer. I might get away with an apprentice carpenter, but I can certainly do more with a journeyman or master. And the hammer is just good for pounding. :) – Chris W Jun 8 '14 at 19:45

As far as I know they're just known as 'mapping' or 'tracking' software. Because that's pretty much all they do - map things and display that information. They do limited amounts of pre-coded analysis and statistics, but don't have the true analysis capabilities of full GIS software. At least not exposed to user manipulation. You could call them GIS applications, in the sense that they are specific applications of a GIS framework or engine (in some cases), but as you note the GIS designator in common parlance is typically applied to an all-encompassing software rather than a specific tool.

I think my former instructors would probably be dissappointed if I didn't point out that GIS isn't just software - it's people, software, data, hardware, and processes. You're making distinctions between classes of parts of a whole. Microsoft Paint is raster manipulation software, but nobody would ever confuse it or even put it in the same class as Adobe Photoshop, which is also raster manipulation software.

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    I partly agree. I feel like if our world thinks of GIS systems as being like Photoshop (complete, professional), while it should be seen as "raster manipulation systems". So, It's being hard to find Paint, because everytime I look for "image manipulation systems", results are always pointing Photoshop... I hope you get what I mean... – heltonbiker Jun 6 '14 at 18:57
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    GIS is literally every sort of Geographical Information Application, but it is so often confused with professional systems that it eclipses everything else. (which doesn't surprise me at all, given that only recently that sort of user-oriented, smartphone-GPS based activities became actually mainstream) – heltonbiker Jun 6 '14 at 18:59

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