What is a geographic information system and how exactly does it work? Geographic information systems, better known as GIS, incorporate data, software and hardware for the capturing, analyzing, managing and displaying of geographic information in all forms. Through GIS we are allowed to view, question, understand, visualize and interpret the collected data in many ways, which reveal patterns, trends and relationships with the help of reports, maps, charts and globes.
Who uses Geographic Information Systems?
There are thousands of different organizations that use GIS for improving processes and solving problems. These include governments, businesses, scientists and educators, utilities, and conservation and environmental groups and organizations.
Climate Change Quantifying
One of the most important uses of this incredible tool is to measure the various climate changes, such as increases in temperature from various parts of the world and the melting of the ice caps, for example. By looking at the data that engineers and scientists collect with the help of GIS, they can easily share it and quickly understand it too.
Geographic information systems help to solve problems as well as answer questions to many of the existing climate change theories that exist. It is now possible to use the data and numbers obtained through GIS to confirm if most of these theories are legitimate or not, which in the past was not likely.
It is possible to look at the world around us in a new way with GIS. GIS allows the following:
Chart where everything is
With GIS it is possible to record or chart where everything is, which allows you to see patterns and find certain places that possess the features you are looking for. This is especially helpful in measuring the world’s climate changes.
Record all quantities
You can record quantities that allow you to discover places that meet certain criteria you look for, and then you can take action. As an example, health officials might be interested to record the total number of physicians found per 1,000 people out of the census tract, so that they could identify which areas have an acceptable number of physicians and which areas have a shortage.
Density maps allow you to measure how many features use the same areal unit. This way the distribution is clearly visible. This is very useful when mapping specific areas, such as counties that vary in size a great deal.
Discover what is inside
With GIS it is possible to map what is inside a certain area. You can then take specific action after closely monitoring what is happening in such an area.
Discover what is nearby
Through using GIs to map what is nearby, you are able to find out what is happening within a specified distance from a certain feature.
Record any change
The changes in a specific area, such as rises in temperature can be recorded, and this allows you to anticipate the future conditions of that area. That area’s various climate changes can be predicted and scientists can also determine how it could affect the area over time. With this data it is possible to decide what action should be taken or to assess the results of a policy or action. Recording how and where certain things move over a time period, it is easy to gain information concerning their behavior.
Sarah Rawson contributed this guest post. Sarah is a freelance writer and is also studying a GIS Certificate online. Her articles appear on various higher education publications.