Using GIS: What can you do with GIS?

what can you do with GISAs a managment and analytical tool, GIS can help us do a great deal. From mapping where things are to indicating density by geographical area, the scope of what you can do with GIS is broad.

Below are examples of what can be done with GIS. Consider your situation and figure out how GIS can be used by organisation and yourself.

Uses of GIS:

1. Map Location: mapping where things are allows us to find where we are, where we are going and where a feature is. Mapping locations also allows us to recognise a pattern with regards regularly occuring features. 

2. Map Quantities: mapping quantities allows us to understand activity or variable in an area. Mapping the most to least of a variable helps us make decisions and compare locations. Such comparisons could include crime stats, number of schools or percentage of people over 60 years of age.

3. Map Densities: Densities indicate the occurance of a feature or attribute of a location or area. Mappingdensity is useful where the concentration of heterogenous features is high, making visual patterns recognition difficult. Density mapping also allows feature and attribute mapping on a known and equivalent scale. Population maps are a good example of density mapping.

4. Proximity: Proximity mapping is simply idenifying features that are nearby to an identified features. This seems trivial, but when considering the possible flood area of a dam and identifying nearby features, like towns and national electircal infrastructure, help management and scenario planning.

5. Map Change: Mapping change is possible by comparing areas across the same variable but at two points in time. Such mapping allow behavioural understanding and antcipating future needs. The impact of an action can also be visualised when mapping change.

6. Ring-Fenced Activity: Identifying a particular area and identifying what features exist in that area and how quantities or densities change, allows us to understand a system. Specific action can then be taken for a specific area.

Using GIS: Applications of GIS

Learn more about our world with mobile GIS AppsGIS is being used in many industries and is helping organizations to perform more effectively, efficiently and to provide more satisfactory service.

The use of GIS is also wide spread across the world – GIS is used in Florida to forecast weather and track storms, New Zealand to automatically generate aeronautical navigational charts, South Africa to manage water and solid waste and Ecuador to track milk delivery.

Build your GIS solution to gain the same benefits as shown by these other applications of GIS.

 GIS use by Industry

  • Agriculture
  • Defense and Intelligence
  • Electric and Gas: A successful energy supplier must take advantage of all its resources. Equipment, facilities, crews, customers, and even system events have an aspect that can be associated with a physical location. Integrating GIS is making this possible. CenterPoint Energy, Inc. Texas, US,, uses GIS across its enterprise to save money and manage its assets more efficiently. Energy companies in more than 100 countries around the world, also uses GIS to model its electrical systems.
  • Fire/Emergency Medical Service/Disaster
  • Forestry: GIS provides foresters and natural resource managers with powerful tools for better analysis and decision making. GIS lets foresters perform tasks like long-term supply strategies, forecasting silvicultural stock, determining harvesting system options, and more. For example, IntelliGIS has been used as a building block within the South Africa’s forestry industry for a complete GIS solution.
  • Health and Human Services
  • Insurance: Insurance companies have implemented GIS to visualize, analyze, and manage portfolio risk.
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice: Information about the location of a crime, incident, suspect, or victim is often critical in determining the manner and size of the response.
  • Libraries and Museums
  • Marine, Coast, and Oceans
  • Mining and Earth Sciences
  • Petroleum: Where to drill, route a pipeline, or build a refinery are all questions that rely heavily on an understanding of geography to make the right business decisions. GIS is widely implemented in these areas as well as petrol tanker tracking.
  • State and Local Government
  • Transportation
  • Water and Wastewater

Build Your GIS Solution

Build GISBuilding your GIS solution requires deciding on and acquiring the necessary hardware,  software and data to support your need. The success of any system implementation , which is particularly true of GIS, is planning!

A key planning consideration is establishing the Startegic Purpose of the GIS solution for your organization. Such purpose guides the scope of functionality & output required of your GIS solution.

Like all solution developments, requirements & specifications for your GIS needs should be established. In doing so, the data required and how it will be used to produce the necessary information output is determined. Effectively, you are designing the scope of the system in terms of data input, processing capabilities and output.

The system scope define the tools – hardware and software – needed to make the solution a reality. When deciding on hardware, the nature of data capture (in-field or centralized), the accuracy tolerance and real-time vs delayed processing must be established. Remember, your hardware requirements for your GIS solutions should partner your existing IT infrastructure as far as possible.

GIS Software is probably your must critical decision with regards implementing your solution. You need to match you system scope to the functionality of the GIS software options, consider cost-effectiveness of the investment and importantly the compatibility and scalability of that software selected. An investment into a product that exceeds your functional needs and locks you into a specific data type or model can be very expensive at the outset and in the long-term respectively.

Implementation through acquisition, data capture and training should then follow to make your GIS solution a success.

Using GIS

using GISUsing GIS has all the advantages of a management information system (MIS) coupled with the visual representation of data – remember that a picture tells a thousand words. Hence, using GIS as a management and analytical system is very powerful.

The question is “who should use GIS?” The answer is simple – everyone should!

Everyone has some form of location dependence within the management and analyses of their activities – whether business or recreational. Such location dependence gives rise to spatial and attribute data to manage sales, resources, productivity and to analyse product consumption by consumers amongst many other company activities within business. In a recreational environment, GIS is useful for finding your way when coupled with GPS, analysing race routes for a marathon and identifying preferred scuba diving or fishing locations to name a few.

Basically, everyone has a need and use for GIS – its just the extent that may vary.

Everyday uses of GIS that effect us

Some you know of and some you didn’t even suspect – but we are all influenced by GIS. Here are some examples:

vehicle tracking1. Vehicle Tracking: this is one GIS service offered to create security and peace of mind that your car is where you left it. GIS is used for more than protecting your vehicle & is implemented by policing and security organisations worldwide to prevent crime and manage area security.

2. Courier Services: you enjoy knowing where your package is located while on route – again GIS helping you but also helping your courier company manage the logistics of moving your parcel along with all the others they handle.

3. You drive to work! Road infrastructure planning, maintenance & traffic monitoring is governed by GIS in most countries.

4. You receive your newspaper subscription – the wood used to produce the paper used for your newspaper was carefully managed by forestry companies to ensure optimum tree growth, management of environmental impact and to maintain safe forestry practices.

The uses and impact of GIS is so extensive that possible examples of our use can be related to almost all our daily activities.