The Growth in Geographic Information Technology
Every day, a staggering amount of new data is produced, and business and governments look for ways to utilize that data to help them plan and strategize, cut costs, innovate, and deliver services. While some companies and organizations are working at the cutting edge of data implementation, many companies are still lagging far behind when it comes to making optimum use of that data.
Geographic information technology has emerged as a critical data implementation tool that allows companies and governments to drill deeply into their data and use that data to help them determine their future direction.
What is Geographic Information Technology?
Geographic information technology allows data to be analyzed and then displayed on maps. It can be used to analyze anything from locations where it would be most profitable for a restaurant chain to open up a new outlet, finding out which areas of a city are responsible for the most pollution, and tracking disease outbreaks.
How Does a Geographic Information System Work?
A GIS system captures, stores, and analyzes data related to its position on the planet’s surface. Many different kinds of data can be displayed on one map, which allows patterns and relationships between elements to be discovered.
The location data used can be cross-referenced with other information in the database to show information about the people in that place, such as their education levels, income levels and life expectancy. Another example would be mapping locations of water or air pollution and then looking for the source based on all of the farms and factories in a given area.
An organization will need specialists holding a geographic information science and technology degree in order to implement and administer a GIS system. Members of a company’s IT team can also undertake a part-time online GIST program to acquire the relevant education and skills.
Which Types of Organization Can Benefit From Using a Geographic Information System?
Because the benefits of understanding location data are so far-reaching, a wide range of companies and government departments can gain from using a geographic information system.
The US Department of Defense uses analysis provided by data specialists at National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to identify potential threats to national security.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention uses GIS to help shape public health-related policy decisions.
Local government bodies provide location data mapping to various departments, including those responsible for public utilities and services, property tax assessments, highways, and town planning. For example, accident hotspots can be identified and steps are taken to minimize risks in those areas. Location data can also help to develop a local tourism strategy or plan new residential communities.
Companies can use a geographic information system to manage their supply and distribution chain more effectively, to plan new locations based on local income levels and population density, and the road and other transport networks that make traveling to the location feasible.
Geographic information technology enables a better understanding of data and can ensure smarter use of resources and more efficient targeting of services, both in the public and the private sector.