Data Capturing In GIS

Ed Coveney | 11 January 2023


When using GIS (geographic information system) for a project, you need to know how to incorporate that data into the system. Data capture allows you to collect information and then digitise and organise different map attributes, facilities, resources, and other organisational information in your GIS.

Scanning maps or photographs is only the beginning of the process, but collecting that data from the document and converting it into something that computer systems can understand is the other half of the job. This is one of the more essential phases and will allow you to store, organise, search, and retrieve documents quickly without wasting any time.

This automation removes the costly process stages and allows for higher efficiency, more accurate information, and better transparency. This article will discuss how GIS data can be used and the process of capturing GIS data.

How Is GIS Data Used?

GIS data is an essential tool in obtaining up-to-date information that is used for industries in utilities, infrastructure, the environment and more. There are different ways that GIS data can be used.

  • Land records and survey data are captured using GIS for property, land, water, and holding tax.
  • Electrical power networks.
  • Ecological and physical geography can break down the effect that humans have on the planet and will gather information on the air, biosphere, and geosphere.
  • Geological, weather, mining, and other mineral exploration maps.
  • Water lines, road networks, sewer networks, and other related infrastructure issues.
  • Navigation data.
  • Hydrographic mapping, regional issues, vegetation, and transport.
  • Crisis management information systems for constant communication with crisis responders regarding geographical design.

Pre-processing GIS Data

Before moving to the data capture phase, deciding how the captured data will be incorporated into the system is essential. Data capture can be one of the most costly parts of the process, so it’s vital to decide how the data will be collected and used before starting the project.

GIS Data Capture Methods

Data capture includes the principles, methods, technologies, applications, and programming aspects of spatial data acquisition. These sources of data include satellite systems, aerial sensing, field surveys, land records, census data, geographic information that has been volunteered, wireless sensor networks, and drone data.

Geographic information systems live off of geospatial data. The combination of GPS technology paired with wireless networks and cloud-based applications has immensely helped how individuals are able to search and navigate in their daily lives while allowing scientists to participate in capturing spatial data. 

There are two methods that are generally used for data capturing in GIS, primary and secondary.

Primary GIS Data Capture 

Primary GIS data capture methods use remote sensing and surveying technologies to capture data using raster or vector data capture. 

Raster data capture is usually done with satellite imaging techniques or aerial photography and is able to give consistency with the data it generates. Raster data capture can be done regularly and may be systematically organised in order to get more accurate data at a lower cost.

Vector data capture differs from the grids or pixels associated with raster data, capturing datasets through physical surveying with things like differential global positioning systems (DGPS) and electronic total stations (ETS). This technique is the most effective in gathering accurate results on the target GIS system, but it does tend to be more time-consuming and costs more money.

Secondary GIS Data Capture

Secondary GIS data capture uses technology like scanning, manual digitisation, vectorisation, photogramming, and feature construction to capture data. There are a few different ways to gather this data:

  • High-resolution scanning to achieve accurate raster images from hard copies, then georeference and digitised
  • Manual digitisation done directly over the raster with a digitising tablet
  • Raster scanned data that can be imported and laid below vector data that can be traced directly on the computer screen
  • Special software and algorithms that recognise point patterns and line or polygon features that automatically generate vector GIS data
  • Aerial photography to accurately capture vector and GIS data

Processing GIS Data

Before the captured data is used in analysis, all data should undergo a processing stage to edit and remove any capture errors. This can be a very time-consuming process. However, it can save time and money further down the road during the analytical process.

GIS Companies in the UK

Having an effective electronic data capture strategy is crucial for a company’s success, and with such an evolving market, most businesses are always looking for ways to gather data effectively. Finding data can be time-consuming, and hopefully, you are looking in the right places for datasets. 

At MGISS, we partner with market leaders and experts in geospatial data services. We work to transform our client’s businesses and the lives they impact using geospatial software and intuitive mobile apps in combination with satellite positioning and data services.
Contact us today to speak to one of our GIS consultants to find solutions that will help streamline your operations and keep your business running smoothly.