Geographic Information Systems or GIS is basically a computer program that will collect, analyze, manage and display geographical information. There are of course, several different types of GIS program and they offer much the same thing to varying degrees depending upon the detail you require. There are many uses for GIS and it is now extensively used in many different professions to give precise information about a particular zone. Using maps to find out things has been done for a very long time and one of the first uses for spatial analysis was back in 1832 to map the progression of cholera in Paris. The number of deaths were logged and the specific areas of the city that were affected were noted so that a colour coded map could be produced.
Modern GIS works by gathering data from lots of sources for a specific location using latitude and longitude to pinpoint the chosen points. This information is then amalgamated to show a particular picture, for instance if you want to know the possibility of flood risk, using information regarding rainfall, gradient and the location of rivers or streams will be able to show the likelihood of flooding. This can be key when planning a business park or when new homes are being built. Another common use for GIS is fleet management.
Logistics managers have to ensure that they keep their vehicles operating and be as organised as possible when planning the use of their vehicles. Using this technology to map routes will undoubtedly save time, money and mileage as the most direct or efficient way to the destination will be shown. This means that the business can direct resources to where they are needed which will inevitably make the business more efficient and streamlined. The technology has also been used alongside with Global Positioning Satellite to show how global warming has changed the landscape in many areas over the last few decades. Some of the regions with most notable differences include the Dead Sea, the Amazonian rainforest and the reduction of sea ice in the Arctic.
Farming and forestry have also successfully made use of GIS and GPS so that they can monitor crops and areas set aside for wildlife management. This research has been influential in preserving rare species of flora and fauna in many regions around the globe.
As you can see, there are so many uses for Geographic Information Systems and they can be used by anyone, whether you run a multi-national company and want to use the system for strategic planning or if you are an individual looking to purchase a new home or a government department investigating the improvement of transportation issues or even a scientist wishing to track an outbreak of disease. Using this useful tool can really make a difference in enhancing a country’s economy, ecology and quality of life for its citizens. There are many things that using this technology can do to make a difference not only to our own lives but also for that of our society.