Much more than you might think

Geographic Information Science is a way of analysing, interpreting and storing map data on your computer. The question “What can I do with GIS?” is huge and the answer is, “Any location based query that you can imagine”. Let us explain with the example below.

If you want to find out the location of all the services with a 5km radius of a certain location, this is possible. What you need are the following;

  • OSi map data in digital format (raster or vector…click here for more information)
  • A computerized point with XY coordinates, for this example let’s call it ‘My House’.
  • Another digital point layer representing the locations of all services e.g. bus stops, train stations, doctors, pharmacists, shopping centres, crèches.

The action that we would then carry out would be as follows;

  • Ask the GIS computer software to create a 5km buffer from the point ‘My Home’.
  • Again carry out GIS analysis on your map files by asking the GI software to select all the service points that are within that 5km buffer.
  • Store the selected service point as another map file. This map file is the answer to the initial query as we now know what services are with 5km of ‘My Home’.

The benefit of GIS is that you can use it for various location based intelligence and business intelligence queries. As they say “A picture paints a thousand words” and so when analysing for example, the census data information, all available sites for the most suitable one or the example above, it is much easier to analysis the results via a thematic map rather than trying to make sense of data by tediously reading through the umpteen spreadsheets.