Geographic Information System (GIS) technology has numerous applications and is becoming more useful all the time. If you’ve ever looked at a map depicting rainfall rates or voter turnout information, chances are that map was created using a GIS program. This quickly-growing field holds much potential for new applications and is a fantastic career option for those interested in real-world technology. Read on to learn more about GIS and its fascinating role in modern life.
1. Remote Sensing
Remote sensing data collected by aerial and satellite systems has many different uses in a wide variety of fields. These images often contain important metadata as well as georeferencing information, all of which can be easily stored, organized, and displayed using GIS. Google Earth is one of the most well-known programs that uses remote sensing data, and there are many other examples as well. GIS tools provide the capability to display and manipulate raw remote sensing data in useful ways.
2. Crime Mapping
Law enforcement agencies use crime mapping extensively to analyze crime patterns and create plans to deter criminals and protect populations. GIS tools are extremely important for displaying complex crime information in an easily readable way. The many layers built into GIS software make it easy to display as much or little data as desired and filter by any number of criteria. This powerful analysis tool is invaluable to state and federal law enforcement professionals.
3. Historical Geographical Data and Mapping
Geologists, environmental scientists, and cartographers can also use GIS tools extensively to organize, store, and analyze geological data. The ability to view geographical data easily and analyze how it changes over time provides invaluable insights into the environment and geologic features. GIS tools also allow digitized versions of historical maps to be layered over current maps for additional information relating to the changing geologic and cartographic conditions.
4. City Planning
GIS is used extensively in city planning applications. Because the system allows users to create and store an enormous number of data “layers,” city planning officials can easily study a wide variety of information before making decisions. For example, GIS systems can show information relating to street locations, waterways, agricultural land, flood zones, and countless other areas. Future advancements in GIS technology will likely lead to even more city planning uses.
5. Space Exploration
One of the most exciting fields utilizing GIS technology is space exploration. As probes, rovers, and telescopes capture and return information about planets and other objects, scientists use GIS programs to collect that data and manipulate it for analysis and demonstration purposes. GIS technology is essential for creating detailed maps of Mars, the moon, and even Earth using numerous types of data collected by different equipment.
GIS technology has many interesting applications and great potential for growth. If you are wondering about careers using GIS, you may want to consider getting a degree or certification. You can even get an online gis degree from USC if you want to further your education without committing to a traditional on-campus program.
There are many uses for GIS technology, including crime mapping, city planning, and even documenting space exploration. As the technology continues to improve there will likely be even more uses for GIS in a variety of industries. Earning a GIS degree can open up many career opportunities in diverse fields.