GIS Data and How It Is Used

MGISS | 20 June 2022

example of using GIS data with a map showing cases of COVID 19 across the world

Geographical information systems (GIS) are the foundation for modern geographical science and are utilised in many essential service sectors. GIS is the process of gathering, analysing, reporting, and storing data with the position on the earth’s surface.

Almost every essential service industry uses GIS data to plan for the future, maintain assets, understand growth impacts, improve decision making, develop greater efficiency, and improve effectiveness.

Geospatial consultancy, geospatial training and geospatial software development are essential for modern-day businesses. Here are the two types of GIS data and some of the many ways to utilise it in your life and business.

Two Types of GIS Data

  • Vector data is used extensively in mapping applications like Google Maps or Open Street Maps, computer graphics, or computer-aided designs.
  • Raster data, also known as grid data, is made up of pixels and is usually used on topographic maps, satellite images, and aerial surveys and is essential for disaster management, meteorology, and industrial applications.

GIS Data

Some of the features GIS provides details about:

  • Population size
  • Education
  • Income levels
  • Environmental characteristics of the landscape
  • Longitude and latitude
  • Addresses
  • Lifestyle habits, including shopping, work, etc.
  • Development
  • Utilities and infrastructure

11 Uses for GIS Data in Daily Life

1. Mapping

GIS provides a visual interpretation of data that can be used for various applications. One of the most common daily uses is for navigation purposes. Google Maps is an excellent example of a GIS mapping solution.

2. Urban Planning

GIS data supplies essential information that helps determine population needs and the best locations for building new stores, hospitals, restaurants, etc. It also can help developers find new areas for building and determine infrastructure needs. Other uses include:

  • Zoning, housing developments
  • Land acquisition
  • Code enforcement
  • Emergency response
  • Tax assessment

3. Disaster Risk Analysis

GIS data helps identify areas with a high probability of experiencing natural disasters and uses the data to help mitigate risks and develop preventative measures. This can include areas prone to landslides, fires, hurricanes, tornados, floods, earthquakes, etc.

4. Transportation Planning

GIS data is utilised to gather topographical data to help the transportation sector solve logistical issues and identify areas with high accident rates. 

5. Environmental Sciences

GIS data supplies essential information that helps conserve and protect our environment. It can identify regions at risk for environmentally based topics such as flooding or erosion.

GIS data also improves the ability to:

  • Monitor environmental risk
  • Manage watersheds, floodplains, wetlands, forests and aquifers
  • Hazardous or toxic facility location determination
  • Model stormwater runoff
  • Monitor and manage natural resources 
  • Support conservation and protection of our environment
  • Analyse environmental impact by gathering crucial data that supports environmental protection and helps to assess the human impact on the environment. This information helps mitigate environmental risks and hazards and aid ecological restoration efforts.

6. Mapping of Wetland Areas and Threatened or Endangered Species

GIS data helps monitor and manage wetlands and habitats that support threatened or endangered species that are critical for our planet.

7. Agriculture

GIS data is widely used in the agricultural industry to analyse soil data to help determine which crops will do best in specific areas. It also allows farmers to be more efficient in their harvesting methods and helps to improve food production and environmental practices. 

8. Disaster Management

When a natural disaster occurs, government agencies, utility companies, water companies, and insurance agencies will use GIS data to determine which areas need immediate assistance and what damage has occurred. With this data, they can decide where to send assets and act effectively and efficiently to help people in need.

9. Navigation

Mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and vehicle navigation systems rely on GIS data to keep their mapping systems current. Almost everyone today relies on some sort of navigational system at some point to get to a location or help them find places like stores, gas stations, the nearest restaurant or hospital.

10. Management and Maintaining Assets

Infrastructure and utility sectors can monitor and manage assets more efficiently and effectively thanks to GIS data which gives management and employees real-time data when making decisions. Utility and engineering companies can use GIS data to locate underground facilities, design alignment for freeways and transit systems, and coordinate infrastructure maintenance.

11. Healthcare

GIS data helps with Infectious disease control during an outbreak, needs analysis, and service availability and inventory.

At MGISS, We Can Help Transform Your Business

At MGISS, we work with crucial infrastructure providers, utility companies, and environmental organisations to keep you at the forefront of your industry. We provide Geospatial software development and support for your team members with Geospatial technical support and Geospatial training. We strive to improve the resilience, efficiency and performance of our client’s Utility, Infrastructure, and Environment services while minimising environmental impact.

Contact us today!


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