Live weather maps, traffic maps, and election maps all use Geographic Information System(GIS) technology. Ever since the 1960s, when Roger Tomlinson developed the first concept of GIS technology, it has been expanded upon and has evolved into a widely used and useful technology, especially in the last decade. Although GIS is widely used and beneficial, many people do not know that technology behind their favorite weather app or election map is the same. This research paper will describe what GIS really is, the recent advancements of GIS and how GIS is used in some professional fields.
GIS is short for Geographic information system. According to National Geographic, A GIS is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earths surface. Basically, thats a fancy way of saying that a GIS is an electronic map that one can update. This is useful, because with it being on a computer means that one no longer has to hand draw a map anymore, saving time and even money.
Being a map, a GIS uses location-based data with information from school population, to the location of rivers and mountains. With this, many GIS users can compare the locations of different objects and relate them to each other. That is just the basis of GIS, but the actual use of the system goes more in-depth.
A GIS uses layers, different inputs of location-based data all on the same base map. A base map is simply the underlying map, usually a satellite image.
These layers can transform a road from just being a road to also being a school boundary, park boundary and a country boundary. According to National Geographic, GIS technology also allows to dig deep in a specific area with many kinds of information. For example, a map of an urban area can show voting patterns, age, and average income. With data like that being available on a map, it is easy to make and study relationships between the data. This can all be viewed from two types of data display, raster and vector. Raster data is made up of a grid of cells or pixels and an example of raster data can be and elevation map or a rainfall on an area map. Vector data is made up of lines and points and can be used to show boundaries. This is just a basis of what GIS is, and lately the technology has been growing exponentially as it is rapidly being integrated into many areas of expertise.
Recently, there have been many technological advancements not related to GIS. This includes the likes of virtual reality, and augmented reality. Through these advancements, GIS has been able to use and integrate the technology with mapping. For instance, virtual reality can provide the user with a 360-degree view of an area and augmented reality can provide data to a viewpoint. What really helped in innovating GIS technology was the change from 2D maps to 3D maps which helped broaden the landscape of what the GIS technology could connect with.
Another advancement made in the GIS field is Realtime mapping. Basically, a GIS mapper can use a public map and update it and users can view those updates as they are updated. A good example of this is a weather map app, one can view the rain systems live as they move across the country. This technology is also used in other areas and will eventually be used in all areas of necessity.
One way that GIS technology is being used is in retail. It can be useful in the site selection for a business. According to Trade and Industry Development, GIS displays data and information on a map that helps to visualize and interpret trends and relationships within a specified area. This data includes other competitors, drive time, population and other important factors that the system can run a script and find the best option. Without a GIS, comparing all the factors associated with determining a location for a business would be nearly impossible. Also, it does take an experienced GIS analyst to do these calculations, because the GIS is confusing for a new user. The system is falling in price, but is still relatively expensive. Besides that, there are other ways that a GIS system can be useful in the retail business.
Once a business is running, it still takes a large amount of effort in order for it to grow and continue to produce a profit. According to GIS Lounge, Retailers already using customer-modeling applications can apply geodemographic data to tie existing information to supplement neighborhood demographic data. With a GIS system, the business can typically know their customers habits, such as their income and where they happen to live. With knowledge like this, retailers know what their customers buy based on facts about them, then adjust their business sales to fit the needs of the most common buyers. The GIS system used in retail and the data obtained by it is extremely beneficial in how a business can grow and be run. Specifically, its the fact that one knows what their customers want and the knowing of a change in the buyers needs that really propels the use of a GIS in a retail environment.
As the price of a GIS has decreased and the system has gotten easier to use, the use of GIS with urban planning has increased. Urban planning is extremely complex and a powerful analytical tool like a GIS is the only way to complete that task. The system can be applied to wide array of problems such as monitoring an area or run a study of an area for a possible construction project. In addition to that, a GIS can be useful in environmental sustainability of land and how contaminated the specific area is. Physical properties, topography, and biological properties can be examined in a specific area or a widespread issue like wetland deterioration. GIS and Remote Sensing (analyzing the Earths surface from above) go together when it comes to urban planning. Experts around the world rely on the use of GIS to study land and how it can be used in benefit with relations to urban planning. That use has helped experts make informed decisions about the development of an area and see how it can be used and effectively built upon. GIS is very useful with predicting future trends in land and urban development and is part of a trend in using technology to solve problems.
When used with construction and surveying, GIS comes in handy with its many intricate assets. According to Esri, construction and surveying uses GIS as a tool that enhances data management, project management, quality control, and cost reduction. When constructing a building, one must first place support beams at the bottom in order for the building to be stable. With the use of GIS, a surveyor can identify the exact locations that these support beams would go for maximum stability. In addition, construction projects are getting larger and more complex, thus making the need for GIS necessary because it greatly reduces the time it takes to run such calculations. A lot of help for the use of GIS with construction comes from the fact that a GIS system is based on spatial information and can calculate things with the data of unrelated objects like elevation and integrate it into how a specific area will be constructed. This use is extremely helpful and there are other ways that a GIS can be useful in managing the construction project in general.
Along with specifically using data to find the best way to execute projects, the use of GIS can also aid with planning and coordination. According to Esri, Field supervisors could retrieve information instantly about a specific pile. Project managers could use the maps to aid in planning work and coordinating crews and machinery on the project site. This is so useful, because it can end a lot of confusion when it comes to the spread of information and how easily data files can be transmitted. Similar to a google document, in which multiple people can edit it, this GIS can also go above and beyond by storing the data in is specific files. All of this comes together and works very coordinated to provide help to the many facets of a construction project.
Originating as a mapping system, GIS has grown as current technology improves with inventions such as interactive mapping or sharing data. With this, GIS is now used by millions world-wide, either by professional use or personal use. The system is gradually lowering and price and increasing in the usefulness of its technology with time. Without GIS, many of the things we take for granted, like mapping or even professional fields such as meteorology, would be extremely difficult and time consuming.