All You Must Know About Geographic Information System (GIS)
All You Must Know About Geographic Information System (GIS)

What is GIS – Definition

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is used to gather data for the purpose of storage, scrutiny, distribution, and displaying geographic information. GIS data shows real-world geographical features such as terrain, transportation networks, and elevations in a digital format. The displayed images emanate from the areas where the information was gathered. Users can make use of the information for purposes such as mapping the data, scrutinizing the digitally displayed data, and editing the data.

A GIS includes application software for surveying land, aerial photography, remote sensing, extensive geographical mapping, and so on. Often times, it is used to study global problems with the aim of finding solutions much more quickly.

Of recent, geographic information systems are been developed for public use. For instance, Google Maps and Bing Maps are GIS applications now used by so many individuals around the world. The public can now access large volumes of geographical information via interactive web mapping. An importance of GIS is that it is used to study climate change. It is now used in the analysis and tracking of data with regards to the impact of climate change. For instance, GIS is used in the study of ice melting in the Arctic.

GIS can also be used for earthquake mapping. It is now possible to map shifts in tectonic in areas of high risk to the earthquake for business development and public safety planning such as deciding insurance rates. With respect to techniques for business marketing, a business can make use of GIS in the analysis of demographic data to locate regions where their products or services are likely to be sold. Governments can make use of GIS to examine census information such as education and health statistics. This is helpful for government spending and modifying or developing public policies. It can also offer assistance for health research such as the analysis of data from heart disease research. Also, it can help in the creation of jobs in the right places that can give a boost to the economy.

Apart from the use of GIS technology for research on climate change, it can be used for law enforcement and security logistics, urban development and planning such as choosing where to develop roads and communities that will have minimum environmental impact, examining a potential business market and business marketing, management of natural resources, cartography, archaeology research analysis, natural resource mapping, and the tracking and analysis of natural disasters with the hope to shorten emergency response time. GIS technology can also be used as an educational tool for universities and technology schools for studies such as science, geography, and math. GIS can even be added to the curriculum of high school students.

Mapping where objects and places are located will help in finding places that have the features they are seeking for, and if there are challenges, they will be able to identify what has to be carried out and formulate an effective and efficient problem-solving solution. Also, they will be able to notice emerging important patterns. The goal of GIS is to locate new trends from the research. The analysis of data via the Geographic Information System will help in the learning and understanding of information much quickly and easily.

The 03 types of GIS Data are metadata, attribute, and spatial

1. Metadata

A. They are the most forgotten type of data

B. very important if you are going to use the data, or if someone else will use your data at a later time. It contains information about:

i. accuracy

ii. scale

iii. data source

iv. projection/datum

v. manipulations

vi. how data is acquired

D. many different “standards” for presentation and collection of metadata, such as FGDC utilized by US government agencies.

2. Attribute Data GIS

Attribute data have characteristics that are non-spatial and are connected by tables to lines, points, polygons, and “events” on lines, (and in certain cases GRID cells)

A vector, point, or raster geologic map could describe a “rock unit” on a map with a single letter, number, or name, however, the attribute table could have.

– lithology

 – age

– percent quartz

– etc, for each type of rock on the map.

B. many GIS programs can either dray the polygon by an identifier or by any of the attributes

3. Spatial Data

A. vector data

 i. Polyline/Line Data — data that is defined by x,y points (events, nodes) and arcs (lines) between points (line, polylines, and segments).

ii. Point Data — data contained by events (or points) described by x,y (long lat; northing, easting)

iii Polygon Data — data of closed segments of line which enclose areas described by attributes.

Polygon data could be “multipart” such as the islands of Hawaii.

B. grid data or raster (matrix of numbers describing e.g. herbicide, population,  elevation, use, etc.)

What is the Importance of GIS Data

Irrigation management:

The availability of water for the purpose of irrigation is important for the production of crops in that area. It needs to be efficiently and properly managed for the proper management of water with the help of GIS data.

Identification of Volcanic Hazard

The volcanic hazards to the environment and human life include lava flows, hot avalanches, flooding, and hot particles gas clouds. Potential hazard zone for volcanic eruptions can be identified through the historical records of volcanic activities gotten through GIS data. Hence an impact assessment of volcanic hazards helps to deal with loss of lives and property and economic loss in densely populated areas.

Determination of land use and land cover

Land use refers to the part of the surface used for a particular use. Land cover refers to the feature that covers a barren land. The role of GIS data in land cover and land use applications is that it helps to determine changes in land cover/land use in different places. Also, it can estimate and detect changes in the land cover/land use pattern over time. It helps to detect sudden changes in land cover and land use either by natural causes or due to other activities such as deforestation.