What is GIS ?


A Geographic information system {GIS} lets us visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends.

GIS benefits organizations of all sizes and in almost every industry. There is a growing interest in and awareness of the economic and strategic value of GIS.

Historically, most organizations have used geographic information systems for data management, mapping and analysis, and they continue to do so. But as GIS system capability has exponentially grown with the advent of big data initiatives, it is time for organizations to re-evaluate this decades-old system to see if they are getting everything they can from it.

Many Companies have worked in the GIS area for many years, and they have a background in geography and mapping. This is a background that doesn’t necessarily include much involvement with either the business at large or with IT, which is now a very important factor in maximally deploying GIS systems.

The Geographical information system has changed from data management, mapping and analysis, and a suite of tools used by GIS specialists for a project, to client-server based departmental use and then to a fully integrated Web location platform that can be used by anyone, anywhere on any device.

It has been transformed from a technology to aid internal government operations into one that supports a new generation of customer services. Traditionally, only the biggest cities with the biggest IT budgets could afford GIS and have been the leaders in terms of new location-based services that use the wealth of geo-coded data in public-sector servers.

GIS opens up opportunities while providing new options for cloud-based solutions that can be accessed by smartphones and tablets in real time. Open data has also helped expand the way the public can access and use geographic information. A key reason GIS has become so embedded in local government is that, by some estimates, nearly 80 percent of all city information is address-based, making the technology extremely useful.

Cities have always used GIS to plan development. But now, some have opened up their GIS assets so that the public can use location data to help new businesses get started or expand existing ones.

GIS functions that organizations can put to use:

  • Location management, where maps can be shared anywhere and at any time so that they can be made and used.
  • Constituent engagement, where the GIS system can be used to facilitate and to manage collaborative communications with stakeholders.
  • Decision support, which relays critical map-based information to key executives and managers throughout the organization for decision-making.
  • Field-based communications from GIS that enable individuals in remote locations to gain access to the same GIS information that they would be able to obtain if they were at their home offices.
  • GIS-based analytics that provide new sources of business intelligence to the company for decision making and insight.
  • Location data management, which collects and organizes location data about a company’s assets and resources.

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