GIS stands for Geographic or Geographical Information Systems. It is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and display geographic data in order to provide solutions to real world problems and help in planning for the future. This article is divided into two sections. The first section discusses how locations have been very important since the beginning of time i.e. the history of GIS, and the second section discusses the main types and objectives of GIS.

Geographic Information System And It’s Importance

Definition of GIS

importance of gis

importance of gis

Geographic information system (GIS) is a computerized technology used for creating, maintaining, analyzing, mapping and displaying spatial information in order to solve real world problem and make better decision.

GIS is a multi-disciplinary field which can help different people differently therefore different people define GIS in different ways. Among the many definitions of GIS, we have chosen following prominent ones:

Definition of GIS by ESRI

“A geographic information system (GIS) is a framework for gathering, managing, and analyzing data. It integrates different types of data set and is designed to analyze spatial locations and organize series of information into visualization using 3D scenes, maps and Web dashboards. GIS has unique capabilities, it reveals deeper insights of different data set such as patterns, relationships, and situations to make smarter decisions.” ESRI

Definition of GIS in Geography

“GIS stands for Geographical Information System and GIS is known as an integrated tool, capable of doing multi tasking like mapping, analyzing, manipulating, modifying, storing and redefining geographical data in order to provide solutions to real world problems and help in planning for the future and share with the whole world.”

importance of gis

Definition of GIS in Geography

“GIS stands for Geographical Information System and GIS is known as an integrated tool, capable of doing multi tasking like mapping, analyzing, manipulating, modifying storing and redefining geographical data in order to provide solutions to real world problems and help in planning for the future and share with the whole world.”

Definition of GIS by different authors

“Geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed for capturing, storing, checking, integrating, manipulating, analyzing and displaying data spatial data”

“A GIS is a computer-based system to aid in the collection, maintenance, storage, analysis, output, displaying and distribution of spatial data and information.”

importance of gis

GIS is an advancement of Geography “the study of the Earth, its features, its inhabitants, and its phenomena”. It is most powerful tool for mapping and displaying data, its analysis and modeling framework. It is categorized as a “computer science” and integrates many types of data sets. Though spatial analysis problems are geographically modeled, examined carefully, and used to explore the solutions.

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It uses spatial location (Longitudes and latitudes) to organize information into layers on geographic visualizations, such as maps. According to circumstance, objectives, and organizations needs, data can be recorded or quantified in countless way. With this unique capability, GIS reveals deeper insights into data, such as patterns, relationships, and helps users to make smarter decisions. In GIS x, y, and z coordinates represent longitude, latitude, and elevation, respectively. All geospatial–temporal locations and extent references are related to one another and ultimately to a “real” physical location or extent.

History of GIS

Geographical importance is linked to spatial locations of objects on the Earth’s surface. So it is one of the ancient things that are still very popular. In older times, maps were developed by using bamboo sticks, bones and skins of animals, In mid 20th century, the computer machine was invented and encouraged shifting of manual geographical phenomena to digital geographic format.

Geographic information systems (GIS) started in 1960s as computers and early concepts of quantitative and computational geography emerged. In the beginning GIS was utilized by Academics for important researches. Later on, a National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, was created and led by Michael Goodchild, and formalized research on key geographic information science topics such as spatial analysis and visualization started to begin. All these efforts fueled a quantitative revolution in the world of spatial sciences and laid the groundwork for Geographic information system.

importance of gis

importance of gis

Types of GIS

Many people think GIS is just a tool and doesn’t have any branch. But this isn’t true – on the basis of major applications, GIS is divided into three types.

Four-dimensional GIS

Spatial temporal geographical representation can handle two dimension of space and one dimension of time. While in 4-dimensional GIS three dimensions are designed for space and the fourth one for time.

The 4D-GIS technology deploys a GIS-based algorithm used to determine the location of a moving target through registering the terrain image obtained from a Moving Target Indication (MTI) sensor or small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) camera with the digital map from GIS.

Web GIS

In today’s era, World Wide Web (WWW) is dominant in every field of life even GIS adopted web culture too. Web GIS is a hybrid technology of worldwide web and Geographic information system. Vast usage of Internet services encourages the development of a new form of geographic data representation on the web. Web GIS works as an online mapping platform where multiple users interact with maps from all over the globe. Web GIS provides platform freedom to the user, now they can access GIS maps, apply advanced geographic information using their desktops, the web, tablets, and Smart phones.

importance of gis

Virtual Reality GIS

Virtual Reality GIS, also called VRGIS, is an advanced technology and considered to be the future of GIS. The concept of Virtual reality started in 1996 and 3 years later started the usage of location and research on VRGIS to make it a product for future. The purpose to develop VRGIS is to allow the creation, manipulation and exploration of geo- referenced virtual environments, using Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML). It can be web based and application based. 3D simulation for planning with different scenarios is a real-time example of VRGIS.

Real-time GIS

Real time GIS is an amazing technology that is used very extensively in today’s world. Real time positioning system gained popularity after the availability of cost-effective mobile telecommunications. The advancement in telecommunication sector makes it possible to develop real-time GIS that monitor, transmit, record and analyze the movement of mobile agents such as vehicles, people or animals (telegeomonitoring).

Objectives of GIS

The main power of GIS lies in the ability to perform analysis. Problems are modeled geographically and examined and explored through spatial analysis. Spatial data and maps serve as the underpinnings of GIS and provide unbiased, authoritative perspectives for solving a wide range of life’s challenges. The major objectives of GIS are:

  • Making powerful decisions and efficient plannings
  • Spreading information more efficiently
  • Eliminating database flaws and duplication of data
  • Displaying information according to requirements
  • Facilitating public to easily navigate on globe
  • Making Military operations more accurate
  • Integrating spatial power to Web and mobile devices
  • Controlling spread of any disease and saving lives
  • Complex spatial analysis involving geographical reference data to produce new information
  • Making location analytics more robotics friendly
  • Improve the accuracy of Geo-intelligence
  • Design algorithms for time and cost saving