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Published by John Tejada III

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Published by: John Tejada III on Feb 09, 2012
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GIS applications in Civil Engineering Page 1 of
“ “ GGee o o g g r r a a p p h hii c c I  n n f  f  o o r r m m a a t tii o o n nSS y y s s t tee m mGG I  I SS ) )::  A A p p p pii c c a a t tii o o n n s sii n niivviiE E n n g gii n neeee r rii n n g g” ” 
 By: Juan C. Tejada III, M.ASCE 
Geographic Information System (GIS)
is a computer-based system that handles the input,management, manipulation, analysis and output of 
1.1 Data Types and Models:
GIS comes in Two (2) Basic Forms all of which are demonstrated in the map to the right:
1.1.1 Spatial data - what maps are made of 
 The spatial data is to be referenced to specificlocations on earth and stored as graphicelements, and are made up of points, lines, andareas. Spatial data forms the locations andshapes of map features such as buildings,streets, or cities.
1.1.2 Tabular data - adding informationto maps
Non-graphic attributes tied to spatial data and stored in a relational database. Tabular data isinformation describing a map feature. Using streets as an example, depending on your goalsyou will have to determine whether you need the following attributes: street name, routenumber, road class, road surface class, address ranges, traffic volume, and under- or overpass.In addition,
 spatial data
can be further classified into Two (2) Types of Data Models:
1.1.1a Raster data model
Image data includes such diverse elements as satelliteimages, aerial photographs, and scanned data—datathat's been converted from paper to digital format.
1.1.1b Vector data model
A mathematical object with precise direction andlength but without specific location. This objectis defined as x, y direction in space.
Satellite image of Abu Dhabi Island showing proposed maor road imrovements in ellow, red & can lines.
Overseas Filipino Civil Engineers’ Association (OFCEA) First Annual Convention
September 2002 - Airport Hotel, Dubai, UAE 
GIS applications in Civil Engineering Page 2 of
Basically, GIS is the high-tech equivalent of a map over which information can be laid, and fromwhich different sets of information can be extracted as required
(see picture below)
hasbecome a general phrase that is loosely used to convey different meanings in different contexts.In its simple form, it will define and store information about any feature on the earth with properGeo-referencing to enable Engineers and Managers to query and analyze the data to help them inthe decision making process.There are a number of available GIS software (e.g. ArcInfo,ArcView, MapInfo, MicroStation and etc.) that offers a suite of packages that integrates spatial and tabular information, fromthe data sources such as relational database, CAD systems,satellite images and aerial photos, transportation models, GlobalPositioning System (GPS), field data collection systems, andeven roadway sensors.The information could be graphic features such as; Land parcel,Building, Light pole, Cable, Road, Sector and District with theircorresponding database information such as; Parcel owner,Tenant, Pole height, Cable length, Road name, Population andCrime rate.In most popular GIS systems, the features are stored ingraphical format and their attribute information is stored inRelational databases like Oracle, Informix etc.GIS has become popular because of its ability tocombine graphics and their attribute informationinto a single system. The facilities offered by GISsystems such as; Spatial queries, Analysis and thefacility to interact with the database throughgraphics and depict the results in graphicalformat, has made GIS an invaluable tool forengineers and planners.Spatial queries could be for displaying any of thefollowing.
 Land parcels in a selected area which are empty and whose area is > 5000 Sq. meters
 All single lane roads in a selected area
 All constructions in a selected area that is violating zoning regulations
 List of all Drainage Pipes to be maintained this year 
Shortest route from point 1 to point 2
 Income distribution of the population in a selected area
The results of all the above questions are shown in graphical format as graphs, charts or colorfilled areas.
Overseas Filipino Civil Engineers’ Association (OFCEA) First Annual Convention
September 2002 - Airport Hotel, Dubai, UAE 
GIS applications in Civil Engineering Page 3 of
2.0 Why Use GIS
2.1 Improve Organizational Integration
One of the main benefits of GIS is improvedmanagement of your organization and resources. AGIS can link data sets together by commonlocational data, such as addresses, which helpsdepartments and agencies share their data. Bycreating a shared database, one department canbenefit from the work of another—data can becollected once and used many times.
2.2 Make Better Decisions
The old adage
"better information leads tobetter decisions"
is true for GIS. A GIS is not just an automated decision making system but atool to query, analyze, and map data in supportof the decision making process. For example,GIS can be used to help reach a decision aboutthe location of a new housing development thathas minimal environmental impact, is located ina low-risk area, and is close to a populationreport, allowing decision makers to focus on the real issues rather than trying to understand thedata. Because GIS products can be produced quickly, multiple scenarios can be evaluatedefficiently and effectively.
2.3 Make Maps
For simplicity's sake we often call GIS "mapping software." We most oftenassociate maps with physical geography, but the map to the right demonstrates that GIS is flexible enough to map any kind of terrain, eventhe human body. GIS can map any data you wish.
Making maps with GIS is much more flexible than traditional manual orautomated cartography approaches. A GIS creates maps from data pulledfrom databases. Existing paper maps can be digitized and translated into theGIS as well.The GIS-based cartographic database can be both continuous and scale free.Map products can then be created centered on any location, at any scale,and showing selected information symbolized effectively to highlightspecific characteristics. A map can be created anytime to any scale foranyone, as long as you have the data.

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