GIS stands for Geographical Information System. A GIS is about processing information to help make an informed decision. Without actually knowing it the general public and businesses are using GIS on a daily basis. GIS has been used for hundreds of years however, in the past using GIS was a manual process but technology has allowed this to become a digital process. When Geographical Information (GI) is used in conjunction with location (by using maps), a link is created between diverse datasets that can concern, people, places or things.

Confused Man
Visual information in a GIS system can help it to be more easily understood and explained. For instance, if a council wants feedback on a development plan from residents, showing this information such as schools, parks, planned housing and roads all displayed on a map can help the resident understand the impact the plans will have on them.

Businesses can use GIS to drive efficiencies and reduce costs in their business. GIS can really help when trying to understand ‘WHERE’ competitors are and more importantly ‘WHY’. Managing a business to gain greater value is critical in a difficult trading environment, where GIS can help can range from effective managing of people who work for the business to planning your delivery fleet route for identifying most efficient routes. The key is you can do this not only sitting at your desk but increasingly in real time from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Pieces of a jigsaw
Government can use GIS to manage its strategic planning and to ensure the correct resource is in place in the right location. Using maps and other layers of information from different divisions of an organisation (or from other organisations) in this way helps complex issues be easily understood and help ensure that the maximum return is achieved for any funding allocated to a plan or project.

As technology has progressed, GIS can be used through online or cloud services that are now available. This reduces the need for technical or IT skills that would have been required in the past. This means more people in the organisation can have access to use GIS to make decisions. It also reduces the IT spend required by a business for its strategic planning.

So whether you are looking for restaurants in a particular location or trying to grow your business, GIS can help you do what you want to do. The key to GIS is being able to make good informed decisions.

It’s not that GIS should be part of your life or business, it’s more that it is. The key question is whether you understand how to harness the values from it.