Geographic information systems (GIS) are used in a wide variety of applications in dozens of professional and scientific fields. GIS is a tool for managing geographic information, performing geographic tasks, and answering geographic questions (i.e., information, tasks and questions for which location is relevant), and almost any field that deals with phenomena in the real world has relevant location.
GIS has transformed the way spatial (geographic) data, relationships and patterns in the world are able to be interactively queried, processed, analysed, mapped, modelled, visualised, and displayed for an increasingly large range of users, for a multitude of purposes
- 1 Types of GIS applications
- 2 Examples of GIS applications
- 3 See also
- 4 External links
- 5 References
Types of GIS applications
The geographic tasks and questions for which GIS is commonly employed can generally be grouped into two broad types:
The goal of scientific research is to discover and explain real-world phenomena, and when these phenomena are geographic (i.e., location is a relevant component), GIS can be a useful tool. These include questions that are traditionally seen as "scientific," such as climate change or geomorphology, as well as practical questions such as "what makes one kind of property more successful for retail business than another?" GIS can be used in various parts of the research process, including observation, hypothesis formation, and hypothesis testing. As part of the process, it is usually used in concert with statistics, often generating summary data to be used in a statistical test.
Resource Management is the practical process of an institution using the resources under its control (e.g., land, capital, labor, equipment, inventory), in the context of resources out of its control (e.g., weather, customers, the Economy), in an attempt to achieve its goals. For example, a retail chain might use its capital to purchase land and construct a new store with a goal of increasing its revenue or market share. When the resources and/or goals are geographic (i.e., location is relevant), GIS is often very useful. During the history of GIS, a number of common analytical procedures have been developed for leveraging principles of geography to solve management tasks, such as Spatial Decision Support Systems, Suitability analysis, Network Analysis, and index models.
Examples of GIS applications
Users of GIS range from indigenous people, communities, research institutions, environmental scientists, health organisations, land use planners, businesses, and government agencies at all levels .
The fields in which GIS is currently used are widespread across fields that focus both on natural phenomena and human activity.
Increasing numbers of archaeologists have found GIS to be a cost effective, accurate, and fast means of both analysing large volumes of data, and visually displaying the spatial dimensions of people's behaviour within mapped landscapes, through time.
Over a period of 10 years or more, the use of GIS in archaeology has transformed both the way archaeologists acquire and visualise data, plus the way in which archaeologists think about space itself.
Urban and Regional Planning
See GIS in Business
GIS Application: Hydrology
- Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis's GIS Timeline displaying the development and grow of GIS from the 1960's to the present day Accessed 13 March 2008
- Geographical Information and Technology Association web page Accessed 13 March 2008