Build Your GIS: Data Capture

Build GIS: Data CaptureObtaining data to insert into a GIS is a large subject in itself that includes a number of different approaches. One of the most common ways to collect spatial geographic data is to perform a physical survey to obtain primary/proprietary data. This includes surveying the land, underwater areas, and underground features of the earth (which are referred to as field survey, hydrographic survey and mining survey respectively).

Aerial photography/remote sensing is an increasingly popular way to gather spatial data. Aerial photographs are taken from an aircraft, after which they are measured and interpreted. Similarly, satellite remote sensing can be interpreted for physical features and attributes.

Censuses conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau gathers a variety of demographic data such as population, age structure, sex ratio, race composition, employment rates.

Statistics are a set of mathematical methods used to collect and analyze data. These methods include the collection and study of data at different time intervals and at a fixed location, providing information for yearbooks, weather station reports, etc. This information often has a spatial component and can thus be incorporated into a GIS.

Finally, tracking is a process of collecting attribute data on changes that occur at a location over a period of time. Examples of tracking include: monitoring the change of an ecosystem, and real-time monitoring of a moving objects such as vehicles using GPS technologies.

Public & Commercial Sources of GIS Data

Be sure to search for new data sources online as the GIS community continues to grow. Also ask your muncipality for local spatial and attribute data.

2 Responses to Build Your GIS: Data Capture

  • Luph says:

    Great job, Sir!Just one question; which one of the open socrue GIS programs do you recommend to use in terms of ease and completeness? I have difficulty to choose because you and other socrues say each one are good. Would you please say me something on this for I should take those SW options seriously.Thank you,Dejen

    • Joseph says:

      Short aewnsr, Yes, but there is hope Now here is the long aewnsr. Whenever I have moved up a version I make sure to back-up important, version specific files, test the new version in a virtual environment, and plan for the worst. One of the big problems I have seen with people switching to v10 is that their custom tools they have built may no loner work. In my office several of my coworkers spent considerable time rebuilding custom tools from the 9.3 to 10 upgrade. Moving forward we will set up a single virtual environment with 10.1, get the crop of internal and external tools running properly with 10.1, and then install on other machines within the organization after the first service pack. With business critical decisions being made with this software organizations cannot plan enough before an upgrade!

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