Geographic Information System (GIS)

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computerized system that records, identifies, analyzes, and shows data in the form of beautiful maps and dashboards. It basically belongs to Geography which means the objects have some location on the earth’s surface and this locational data is the key requirement for it. In simple words, GIS allow user to record, archive and re-presents the location of objects on the Earth’s surface. In relation to seemingly non-related data, GIS can help people or groups understand spatial patterns.

Why GIS is important?

GIS is a multi-disciplinary problem-solving technology that is beneficial for all sizes of organizations in almost every industry due to its wide applicability. As you know, 80% of the datasets are geographic in nature and they can be handled with GIS. Its global market value is the US $10.1 Billion and it will double in the next 05 years. Real Estate, 3D Gaming, Metaverses, Driverless Cars, identification of oil and gas reserves, expanding adoption of map assistants, and increasing investments in constructing smart cities are among the prime reasons that strengthen its market growth. Top brands like Uber, Airbnb, FedEx, etc are running their core businesses on Location-based services(LBS), even Tesla’s cars are programmed to analyze spatial data along with  GeoAI capabilities.

History of GIS

GIS was started back in 1854 by Dr. John Snow who use it to solve deaths mystery in the city of London England. Cholera causes casualties, and many peoples think it spread through the air, but  Mr. John began mapping outbreak locations, roads, property boundaries, and water lines which helps to conclude that cholera was being spread through the water.

It’s just the beginning of spatial analysis and GIS as a problem-solving tool. After the invention of computer machines in 1963, Roger Tomlinson’s who is known as the father of GIS developed the world’s first computerized GIS system. In the very next year, Howard Fisher professor at Northwestern University created one of the first computer mapping software programs known as SYMAP.

In 1969, Jack Dangermond—a member of the Harvard Lab—and his wife Laura founded Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI) which is one of leading GIS software providing company in the world. 


Future of GIS

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Component of GIS

There are five components of GIS.

  1. Data
  2. Software
  3. Hardware
  4. People 
  5. Method
Any device that is used in GIS to connect store, analyze and display data is considered a part of the hardware component. These devices are very powerful and specially designed for geospatial processing, displaying huge maps, high-speed connectivity, and ample disk space for data storage. Today, GIS software runs on a wide range of hardware types, from centralized computer servers to desktop computers used in stand-alone or networked configurations.

GIS software is the set of instructions that are used to record, edit, analyze and display spatial information on a hardware device. Both commercial and open-source GIS software are available in the market. Some software packages are specific purposes and some are general purposes such as ArcGIS.

The most popular software used in GIS are:

  • Commercial– ArcView, ArcGIS/ArcInfo, GRASS, MapInfo, IDRIS, etc.
  • Open Source– ILWIS, MapWindow, QGIS, Saga GIS, etc.

GIS technology is of limited value without the people who manage the system and develop plans for applying it to real world problems. GIS users range from technical specialists who design and maintain the system to those who use it to help them perform their everyday work.

Anyone who uses a GIS falls under this category. It refers to the geospatial professionals using dedicated GIS solutions or the general public accessing a digital map.

Generally, all types of stakeholders come under the umbrella of the people category whether they are GIS service provider or users.

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