What is GIS
GIS (Geographic Information System) is software designed to store, manipulate and display spatial information, i.e. any information related to geographical location of objects.
Spatial information is commonly coupled with attribute data that specify additional parameters of geographic objects. For example, if you define parking in a GIS system, its actual location will represent spatial information, while additional attributes can be the type of parking (underground garage or lot), parking capacity, valet or self-parking, etc. Geographic data are displayed on high-accuracy electronic maps so that a user can easily interpret data in a visual form; thisdata has traditionally only been available in tabular form.
Geographic objects can be mapped as points (schools, clinics, post offices), lines (roads, pipelines) and polygons (land parcels, enlarged buildings). Moreover, GIS software enables mapping of objects, that are not considered geographic objects, such as floor plans or engineering infrastructure elements on blueprints.
Each category of spatial objects represents a separate layer on an electronic map. Selecting specific layers allows you to adjust the appearance of a map, or perform geo-related analysis of your business data.
Here are just a few examples of using GIS:
- Municipal infrastructure management – Visualizing data related to residential, recreational and employment locations, and correlating this data with educational, , business, healthcare, and other facilities allows city administration to see bottlenecks in the current infrastructure, and justify required investments in future development projects.
- CRM – Mapping your clients’ data, information about competitors, availability of related products, and so on allows you to visualize your current customer distribution, and determine the geography of your potential target audience. Moreover, mapping data of your last marketing campaign makes it possible to analyze customer response rate as a function of their geographic location, and as a result improve your sales strategy and increase effectiveness of advertisement.
Civil engineering – maintenance of civil engineering objects can be easily scheduled and optimized by combining information on objects’ geographic location and their maintenance requirements. Simultaneous analysis of a number of geographic attributes, such as slope of the terrain, proximity to populated areas, electric and communications grid,provides an invaluable tool to plan new or modify existing development works.