What is Geospatial Technology?

What is Geospatial Technology

Geospatial technology is used in the collection, analysis, and storage of geographic information. Geospatial technology makes use of software in the mapping of geographic locations while assessing the effect of human activities. Geographic Information System (GIS) utilizes digital software to combine datasets and maps about socioeconomic trends and environmental events. GIS develops layered maps for a better geospatial analysis of complex data. The layering happens because each point of data is linked to a definite location on the earth. Other forms of geospatial technology include geofencing, global positioning systems GPS, and remote sensing.

Geospatial definition: Any data that is related to or indicated by a geographic location. Geospatial technology analyzes and collects geospatial data.

Types of Geospatial technology used in industrial applications:

Remote Sensing: geospatial data and satellite imagery received from airborne cameras and satellite sensors. Satellite imagery highly improves a project for GIS mapping and gives information data to help classification and analysis for modeling and geospatial assessment.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS):

This is a mapping tool for analyzing geospatial data that is georeferenced. Geographic Information Systems can be utilized to support the management of the environment for disasters and natural hazards, natural resources, global climate change, land cover, wildlife, and a host of other applications.

Global Positioning System (GPS):

This is a navigation system powered by satellite and made up of 24 satellites placed into orbit for the collection of locations and coordinates.

Nowadays, there are tons of applications in use powered by geospatial technology. Agencies, organizations, and companies all over the world make use of geospatial technology to transform maps produced manually and related descriptive records into strong digital databases. Geospatial systems which were once a tool that only the largest organizations could afford have become an affordable option for small organizations as well.

The launch of Google Maps in 2005 was one of the greatest moments in geospatial history. It made available mapping technology to a wide audience.

But the foundation of what is now known as geospatial technology today was first laid in 1832. That year, when there was cholera outbreak in Paris, Charles Picquet, a French cartographer developed one of the first maps to indicate the area of high concentration of people with the illness.

When there was an outbreak of cholera in London in 1854, John Snow, a physician improved on the works of Charles Picquet. Apart from making a map showing the location of cholera deaths, he made use of spatial analysis of the data to demonstrate the link between cholera and contaminated water sources.

Photozincography was invented by the early 1900s. It was a kind of map printing that had separate layers. Data could be visually represented by each layer on the map.

In the 1960s, Roger Tomlinson helped to develop the concept of Geographic Information System (GIS) that improved the face of traditional cartography. The development of satellites which focused on scientific ventures, commercial activities, and national security, provided pictures of human activity and the Earth’s surface for the first time, thereby revealing more ways to visually represent data.

What Are Geographical Features

What Are Geographical Features

Geographic features are characteristic features of the Earth, whether natural or artificial. Natural geographical features are made of ecosystems and landforms. For instance, physical environmental factors or terrain types are natural geographic features. On the other hand, other engineered forms or human settlements are referred to as artificial geographical features.

Types of Artificial Geographical Features

Artificial geographic features include bridges, highways, railroads, airports, dams, buildings, and reservoirs. They are part of the anthroposphere because they are geographic features made by man.

Planet Earth is replete with diverse physical features ranging from deserts and oceans to mountains and plains.

First, let’s examine the tallest geographical features of the Earth: Mountains. A mountain is a landform that grows conspicuously above its surroundings, typically having a relatively confined summit area with steep slopes. It is quite rare for mountains to exist individually; in many cases, they occur in ranges or elongated chains. For instance, Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, is one of the mountains in the Himalayan Mountain chain. Mountains which make up about 20% of Earth’s landmass exist on all 7 continents.

At the base of some mountains, there are a series of foothills or “piedmont”. They are gradual rises in height and are a transition between mountains and plains. Away from the mountains, there are separate hills which exist on their own. Hills, just like mountains, are raised areas of the earth’s surface, however, they are less steep and not as high as mountains. U.S. Geological Survey says that there is no official disparity between mountains and hills. The United States and the United Kingdom used to describe hills as summits below 1,000 feet. However, in the mid-twentieth century, both countries discarded the definition.

Another geographical feature is the plateau. It is an area of highland that is significantly raised above the surrounding area.

There are 2 major types of plateau: Volcanic plateaus and dissected plateaus. A dissected plateau is formed due to upward motion in the Earth’s crust as a result of gradual collision of tectonic plates. This gives rise to a volcanic plateau being formed from many little volcanic eruptions that overtime accumulate slowly. Even though plateaus are higher than the surrounding terrain, they are different from mountain ranges as they are flat.

The mesa is another flat-topped elevation. It is an isolated, flat-topped hill or ridge which is bounded by steep escarpments from all sides and distinctly erects above a surrounding plain. Mesa consists of soft flat-lying sedimentary rocks insulated by durable layers of hard rock. These durable layers behave like a caprock which forms the flat summit.

Valleys lie in between some of the elevated geographical features. A valley is a stretched depression of the surface of the earth, popularly formed by rivers and occur between ranges of mountains and hills or on plains. Deep valleys formed by the tectonic plate movements are known as rift valleys, while very deep and narrow valleys of similar appearance are known as gorges.

A plain is another geographical feature which can be defined as any level area of the surface of the Earth which exhibits small local relief and gentle slopes. Plains vary largely in size, with the smallest one occupying up to 10 acres.

Geographic Information Science After GIS

Geographic Information Science After GIS

A look at the proceedings of the most important conferences in geographic information science reveals the disappearance of a topic that has been at the core of our discipline from the first day: GIS. Apparently, we either know everything about GIS, or researchers simply got bored with the topic and turned to other, more interesting research areas (I think the truth is somewhere in between).
Of course, there are still other important topics within the broader field, such as wayfinding/routing and data integration/interoperability. But in my opinion, those topics will face the same destiny – the most relevant research questions will be solved, and the solutions will be put into practice by the industry. Which brings up the question of what will be the future research topics we are going to tackle – or, to put it more drastically: will there still be a right to exist for GI science as an independent discipline?

The current hot research topics in our field suggest that the per-definition interdisciplinary GIs science community will become even more interdisciplinary. We do no longer stick to the core topic of computing spatial information, but we are taking disciplines such as cognitive science (spatial cognition), AI (spatial reasoning), and – of course – ideas of Web 2.0 (trust networks) into account. From a political perspective, the need for research on privacy becomes more and more pressing. Beyond those current topics, there is still a significant amount of research done on very basic topics, and I do not think that we will run out of such topics in the near future.

With the current state of GI science in mind, I do believe that it will continue to be an independent discipline. It will certainly get even more interdisciplinary – there are still topics which could be seen as obviously related to the field, but which have not been addressed from a GI perspective yet, such as logistics (as far as I know).

Perhaps a reason is that we are still in the transition from local GIS workstations to distributed (or centralised) GIS networks. But this development never really got off the ground. We are stuck in this transition, and we don’t really know what we can expect from the future (and therefore many people decide to put not too much research efforts into it and prefer to wait).

Potential of GIS

GIS. Sold to many as the savior from unemployment and an infinite source for research. Or at least to me and my fellow classmates in GIScience ‘back in the days.’ Despite this very intriguing view of the potential of GIS, we should open our eyes to reality and see GIS for what it is–a set of tools. This realization is nothing new to the broader GIScience community and it is no surprise to me that it reflects itself in the proceedings of current GIScience conferences. Yes, GIS was at the core of GIScience in its beginning stage, but the field evolved and extended far beyond GIS. That is not to say that there is no research left in respect to GIS. One example would be the efforts that are undertaken in the realm of PPGIS–addressing both technical and critical questions. Some might argue that critical approaches are not part of GIScience. I do not subscribe to this view.

At the end, it all becomes a problem of semantics. What is GIScience? If one applies a broader definition, then the shift of GIS to the periphery of GIScience doesn’t really change anything about the discipline itself.

How a GPS Device Works

How a GPS Device Works

How GPS Device Function?

What is the technology they use? Nothing more than the satellites! They synchronize with the 24 operational satellites and fix up some errors arising out of the obstacles which are either man-made or natural. Find more below…

GPS is short for Global Positioning System, and that captures well what it does: it indicates your position on the globe. The way GPS operates is a fascinating tale that doesn’t require advanced mathematics to understand.

Before looking into the details of how navigation systems work, it’s helpful to have some general knowledge of how certain positions on earth are specified. The classic view provides one that’s easy to visualize.

Imagine a simple grid that wraps the globe ‘vertically’ originating at the earth’s North Pole and stretching out over to the South Pole. Then add ‘horizontal’ lines that cross the globe at right angles to the vertical lines. That grid is the familiar longitude and latitude ‘mesh’ that can be found on every school room globe and map. Each line of lat and long is divided in degrees that specify how far along a line you are located.

Now, what does the ‘mesh’ have to do with the GPSes system?

The U.S. Air Force maintains 24 different operational GPS satellites (with 3 spares). Each satellite has the electronics and software installed to calculate its own location, most importantly the distance to the Earth. It does that by sending a radio beam out and registering the time needed to hit the Earth where the signal is picked up by ground stations.

A simple formula is: distance = velocity * time, and that describes it pretty straightforward. Radio waves travel at the speed of light (~186,00 mph or ~300,000 kph) and the electronics measure the delay from when the beam is sent to when it hits the target.

Satellites (and ground stations) can measure that delay accurately because they have computers synchronized by atomic clocks that are able to measure time incredibly accurately. GPS Receivers don’t have atomic clocks included but perform some tricks to compensate.

Also because of variations in the atmosphere, the motion of the satellites, reflections from buildings, and other imperfections GPS have to make up for small calculation errors in order to get the precision needed to locate your GPS receiver to within a few meters.

Distance provides only one important factor in GPS. Imagine you’re told you are 600 miles east of Los Angeles. That puts you in the center of a circle of radius 600 miles, with LA somewhere on the circumference (the rim). But you don’t know exactly where. Now you’re told you are also few hundred miles north of Las Vegas and another circle is created. Those two circles intersect at two points. A third intersecting circle will place you at exactly one unique point (to within measurement accuracy).

Satellites and GPSes Receivers

Since the GPS system is dependent on satellites in space that interact with ground stations, it operates in three dimensions, not just the two provided by the surface of the Earth. So, the Global Positioning System works with spheres rather than circles. The calculations are more complex, but the idea is the same. Where the surfaces of four spheres intersect they calculate a certain point, the location point of the GPS device.

Your GPS receiver is designed to ‘listen’ for the signals from four of those satellites and uses the info provided to determine your latitude and longitude. It overlays that unique point onto a map that resembles your surrounding area to help you to navigate your way to anywhere in the world.

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Personal GPS Tracking Device

I never realized just how helpful would a personal GPS tracking device be. A personal GPS tracker is very useful in case you hike often to remote locations. I utilize it on a regular basis when I go in foreign countries given that I’m one who likes discovering new places on my own with solely the help of a GPS unit and compass. I likewise carry it in my automobile regularly as a safeguard in case my motor vehicle gets taken. I furthermore know some individuals who utilize a personal GPS tracking device to enable them to spy where their spouse or kids are going. I’m not really indicating this is the correct thing to do, but it is actually beneficial to know that you may likewise utilize a personal GPS tracking device in this manner.

GPS covers a large area of communication concept. Understanding it is very difficult. But here a brief idea is given about it. After reading it one can understand what is GPS is all about. But still many information is there to know about it.

I saw a segment about the Global Positioning Satellite Devices in space and according to Stephen Hawking’s, Into the Universe, the effects of time goes slower closer to earth than in space. Gravity has an effect on time in which it slows time down. So basically, these GPS satellites are “getting older” faster than objects/humans on Earth.