What is GIS mapping? GIS is short for Geographical Information Systems. In a nutshell, it is a map with a database that allows for a wide range of analysis to be preformed. By combining maps with information from a database, maps can be analysed like never before. This information can be used in a wide variety of fields of research, and have proven to be very useful for solving a number of problems. 

You can view the results of the analysis on the map giving you a visual representation on the map. This makes it easy to visualize the patterns and relationships between objects on the map. Some of the data might be in the form of numerical information which can be hard to visualize, but with GIS you can display the numerical data as a map layer making it much easier to understand.

Introduction to Geographical Information SystemsCredit: Amazon

Introduction to Geographical Information Systems

With GIS you can add more layers to the base map and combine the databases of the two layers for an even greater variety of information. The maps are georeferenced to line up with all of the other layers that are added to the map, and all of the information in the database is also georeferenced to line up with the map areas.

Georeferencing is the process of establishing where points of a map line up with a coördinate system or map projection. This helps keep all of the layers and the data aligned with each other. The most common coördinate system includes WSG: 84 and NAD: 83. There are however lots of different coördinate systems that are in use throughout the world.

This means that if you made a common street map your base map and then added a layer showing the houses, they would line up with each other, and be at the correct scale. You could then use the resulting maps to find out how much room on a piece of property to build a building. GIS can also benefit farmers by providing them with a wealth of information that can help them reduce waste and increase production.

A lot of companies are using GIS and benefiting greatly from it, for example, UPS is using GIS to plot out routes that will give them the fastest and shortest routes for delivering mail to their customers. With this technology they know when traffic will be the busiest, and what alternate routes might be faster at that time.

Designing Better MapsCredit: Amazon

Designing Better Maps with GIS

Cities are also using this Technology with great successes because they can put the maps and data into a GIS map. This allows them to precisely know where the streets, power poles, underground pipes and lines are. This minimizes the amount of time that a city worker will need to spend looking for things since GIS can tell you exactly where it is located.

Maps come in the form of vector and raster. Raster images are your common image files such as PNG, JPEG, TIFF, and the other common raster image file types. Raster map images generally are georeferenced so that they will line up correctly with the rest of the map layers. One of the problems with using a raster map is that it becomes grainy when you zoom in. This in turn results in limited information being available from raster images.

FlowlineCredit: dms-mapping

Vector images use lines, circles, points, and other primitive shapes to draw an image using specific X, Y coordinates. Using vector images, when you zoom in on the image, the image basically redraws itself, this in turn keeps the images sharp and clear no matter how for you zoom in on the image. 

You might be wondering if GIS and Google earth or Google Maps are basically the samething. The answer is no, there is a huge difference bewteen the two platforms. I have written an article explaining the differences GIS and Google maps/earth.

What is GIG mapping? GIS is a very useful tool that has lots of potential from keeping track of where georeferenced items are to performing complex analysis of an area. Truly GIS is changing how we use maps and giving us a better understanding about the world around us.