Trends and Applications of GIS- An End User Perspective


By Titli Chatterjee

Use of Geographical Information System (GIS) has seen remarkable growth in the last few years. Availability of powerful technology and expanding system memories enables to handle much bigger sets of data. It allows us to understand and visualize data in ways that reveal relationships and patterns which can then be integrated into any information system. GIS evolved through disparate technologies and has been around since early 1960. However, with the advent of internet as a useful business tool, end users realized the potential for the affordability of GIS. Data collection and transmission of location became much easier as well as less costly for small-sized to big companies. With the on advancement of technology in collecting, retrieving and analyzing data, the focus has now shifted to Big Data coupled with Web 2.0 for producing useful maps. Building of these maps irrespective of organization limitations, is a result of advancement of technology.

Trends and GIS solutions

GIS Maps: For different user requirements quality maps are developed which aim at analyzing and sharing geospatial, engineering and business information in a powerful environment. These maps also help   to eliminate disparate data and improve interoperability, in addition to increasing productivity and effective decision making. A well-known construction company in Nevada minimized the project footprint by reducing each turbine site nearly 40 percent of the original disturbance area. The company shaped each stage of construction in terms of optimizing laydown plans. It helped to resolve environmental hazards and saved a total of 77 acres from disturbance.

• GIS Application Server: Introduction of an independent GIS application server, enables GIS developers to build and deploy shared server applications. This one of a kind application facilitates to deliver advanced GIS capabilities in both web services and client environments. Applications created through this server can provide high-level functionality, such as geodatabase management, network tracing, linear referencing and spatial analysis to the end users.

• GIS on cloud: A cloud based application executed by another supplier is a dynamic and interactive experience by the users. Combining geographic information with geospatial content and workflow delivers insightful analytics which also includes the map along with an engaging dashboard. This finds application in building smart cities which requires both location and geospatial technology uniquely suited to serve the purpose of making smarter cities. This particular application gives non-geospatial department access to location data unlike traditional mapping, which restricts geospatial information only to the relevant department. This procedure helps to quickly chart specific workflows to solve the respective department’s problems.

Industry Trends of GIS

• Oil and Gas– Planning and scrutinizing the drilling operations using 3D GIS to analyze the data and visually inspect the data, exploring oil activity offshore including pipeline and restricted zones. Immediate attention to the pipeline ruptures to understand the striking zones and oil search also can be addressed by GIS applications.

• Mining– Calculation of depth and capturing volumes for forecasting, to determine quarry lifespans; mining valuation with geostatistical technique and figuring out natural resources like varied metals, stones can be some of the optimal utilization of GIS. Apart from this, tracking mining assets through mobile GIS and identifying coal new opportunities for coal exploration by extracting geological data can be well-executed through the geographical information system.

• Engineering services– A lot of issues in this sector can be addressed through GIS; managing infrastructure data maintenance, building permits, forecasting environmental hazards, creating engineering diagrams and real-time sensor networks (augmented reality) are some of the probable examples.

• Telecommunications– Heat maps are quite common devices in this digital era to identify and locate outages and service faults. Heat maps also helps in predicting environmental behavior and the need for proactive action in case of service disruption.

About ARC Advisory Group ( Founded in 1986, ARC Advisory Group is a Boston based leading technology research and advisory firm for industry and infrastructure.

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