There are a number of different software applications that are used for the purposes of mapping and spatial analysis. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) allow for the visualization and analysis of any kind of data that has been collected to be displayed on a map, thereby allowing for the visualization of complex relationships between different elements. There are several different GIS software applications that can assist with this process, ranging from highly specialized to highly user-friendly. In this article, you will find an introduction to ten such applications, which we believe every geographer should know about.
Introduction to GIS applications
3. Google Earth
4. Quantum GIS
10. GRASS GIS
A common misconception that occurs is that GIS involves plugging data into a database and that then the data is somehow visually presented. This is not at all the case. The reality is that most GIS Applications and software companies do not produce nor syndicate databases at all, instead, they create data visualizations, which are often based on pre-existing databases.
A database is created by extracting information from many different sources (geographic, administrative, legal) and merging these together to create a set of structured data records. The data in the database are the fields that need to be mapped (e.g. county, state, three-county population data) and the different relational elements that need to be materialised (e.g. street network, census block and demographic information).
A GIS software company creates a database
There are various different software solutions to perform most of the database tasks. We will discuss four of the most popular such as GeoStudio, ArcGIS (retrieved 26 Jan 2019) and ESRI ArcGIS.
When you start working with a GIS database you will find that there are a number of tools to help you out with most of the tasks that a GIS database needs to perform.