Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has many applications and benefits, but perhaps the most overlooked application among many GIS applications is in data management. Data management through GIS allows us to combine, analyze, and display geographical data in innovative ways. This can be used in many different fields, from education to medicine to urban planning to business. Here are 10 GIS applications you probably didn’t know about. Some may surprise you!
1. Real Estate
Sellers take note! Want to sell your home quickly and efficiently? Then you’ll want to consider hiring a Real Estate Agent who understands GIS technology. A good agent can help buyers visualize potential properties by overlaying maps with live property data like the number of bedrooms, square footage, and estimated value. This is critical in today’s highly competitive real estate market where homes are often purchased at first glance rather than after careful inspection—and a little creativity goes a long way toward standing out from other agents in any price range.
2. Health Care
Healthcare providers use GIS to monitor and track rates of communicable diseases like cancer, malaria, and AIDS; track and monitor vaccine distribution, and study patients’ migration patterns. Many health experts want to create a comprehensive national public health database for storing, mapping, analyzing, and distributing data about cases of illness in order to prevent outbreaks from occurring.
An extensive geographic information system (GIS) would provide greater insight into each patient’s past medical history and help assess future risks. This application will likely be funded by taxpayers because it is crucial to maintaining a healthy population that can work, go to school, or run errands without worrying about getting sick.
3. Oil and Gas Industry
GIS is also used in oil and gas exploration and production. A GPS-based system can be set up to monitor a single well or thousands at once, and a GIS database can use that information to track wells, extraction levels, fill rates and more. Some platforms even let you forecast oil prices based on extracted amounts. If something goes wrong—if flow dips below normal levels or stops altogether—your system can detect it quickly.
The oil and gas industry has been using GIS for years; its main benefit is being able to pinpoint resources (including human resources) when they’re needed most, whether that’s during an emergency repair or before harvesting starts for optimum yield.
4. Government Agencies
Government agencies use GIS to manage and analyze data from surveys, census results, maps, and more. These agencies may gather information about you as a resident or as a visitor. If you are concerned about privacy in your community, it’s always a good idea to request that your information be removed from public records if you do not want it used for an upcoming project or research.
5. Urban Planning
Modern maps and real-time GPS tracking have enabled planners to use more precise metrics when studying growth patterns. Even if you’re not planning on pursuing a career in city administration, learning about GIS can help you make better-informed decisions in your day-to-day life. While Google Maps may be able to get you from point A to point B, knowing how it works behind the scenes—and how map data is collected—can enable you to find even quicker routes or uncover available discounts that might otherwise go unnoticed.
In fact, a large number of online companies now include GIS capabilities in their own offerings; whether they do so for marketing purposes or out of necessity (in order to display physical locations), these services give us greater access to data than ever before.
6. Data Visualization
This includes geographic information systems (GIS), which is a way of storing and presenting information that has been georeferenced (located). At its core, GIS is a system that uses computers to store data in a particular manner so it can be visualized on maps. It’s used for monitoring trends, and creating statistical reports about issues like poverty or crime, as well as by private companies and government agencies for everything from construction projects to locating vulnerable populations.
It’s also used for retail environments: For example, Ikea created an app that shows consumers exactly how specific pieces of furniture will look in their home—before they purchase it.
One application of geographic information systems is to track crop growth. By measuring soil conditions and using satellite imagery, farmers can predict how well their crops will perform in any given area. This also allows them to identify problems early on and change strategies accordingly. For example, a farmer might notice that one patch of land is yielding less than expected, so he may use fertilizers in order to boost production levels or vary his planting schedule for maximum efficiency. Increased productivity means greater profits for these farmers – and more nutritious food for everyone else.
8. Criminal Justice System
Using geographic information systems technology, more crimes are being solved and prosecuted than ever before. GIS-based crime analysis helps police quickly access crime reports on a digital map of their jurisdiction. Prosecution teams use GIS technology to plot locations for trials and to present evidence to juries. Judges may track criminal offenders using geographic data, making it easier to rule on probation violations or other matters that fall under their purview.
9. Tourism and Hospitality
Businesses that rely on tourist traffic often use GIS to better understand and analyze visitor patterns. Information like where tourists stay and which restaurants they visit can give companies insight into how to better market themselves to attract more visitors. Analyzing data about visitor frequency, purchase history, and geographic distribution can also help businesses determine seasonal changes in local tourist traffic
One of my favourite uses for GIS is in education. Whether it’s being used to teach students about watersheds or to visualize a city’s crime patterns, education is one area where we can really use technology to open up learning in new ways. The Khan Academy recently launched KA Lite, a program that allows teachers to integrate video and other educational content from Khan Academy into their lesson plans.
GIS is so much more than Google Maps, and it’s been around longer than you think. The GIS applications listed above are among the top in the industry today. Find out why you should consider becoming a GIS expert and how much you can earn as a GIS expert.