The geographic information system is a conceptualized framework that provides the ability to capture, store, manipulate, analyze and present all types of geographical data. It is the scientific study of geographic concepts, application and systems.
It is attached to various operations and numerous application which are the foundation of location-enabled services. Modern GIS technologies use digital information, for which various digitized data creation method is used. The most common method of data creation is where a hard copy map or survey is transferred into a digital medium through the use of a CAD program. GIS uses spatio-temporal location as the key index for all other information.
A working GIS consists of five key components; hardware, software, data, people and methods. The hardware serves as the computer on which the GIS operates. The software provides functions and tools needed to store, analyses and displays geographic information, the data is the most important component of GIS while the methods are the models and operating practices unique to each organization.
GIS technology is of a limited degree without the people who manage the system and develop plans for the application of solving real-world problems. GIS can be used as a tool in both solving problem and decision making and as well as visualization of data in a spatial environment.
As an emerging technology itself, the field of geographic information system is constantly evolving but there is a thin line in the formation of GIS and Geospatial but of which they can be used interchangeably. GIS refers more of narrowing down to the traditional ways of laying geographical data but Geospatial is broader and it refers to all the technologies and application of geographic data. Over the years, the members of geographic information community have seen GIS evolved from a concept to a science. The evolution of GIS is now seen from a rudimentary tool to a modern platform.
The field of GIS started in the 1960s by Roger Tomlisor who visualized using computers to merge natural resources data from all provinces. He was able to create design automated for computing, storing and processing a large amount of data which later enabled the Canadian government to begin its national land-use management program. GIS as of today has given people the ability to create their own digital maps to solve real-world problems.
GIS is particularly useful for relating, integrating and analyzing information. With GIS, people can compare locations of different things in order to discover how they relate. GIS technology allows different types of information no matter their source and can be linked to one another as a single map. Putting information in GIS is called data capturing and as a result, there is no limit to the kind of information that can be analyzed using GIS technology.
The main function of a geographic information system is to provide a layer for a visual representation of data. Other uses of GIS can be seen in analyzing and planning of urban growth and its direction during expansion and also in the surveying of land to determine the vastness of the land. GIS can also provide important regional planning especially in the regions needed to be put under different uses.
The power of GIS enables organizations both private and public to take advantage of their geographical data, with continuous technological advancement thereby making the world more and more interconnected through digital transformation thereby increasing and achieving interconnected workflow to engage everyone thereby creating valuable insight.