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GIS--What is it?

No easy answer anymore!

Geographic Information
information about places on the earths surface knowledge about what is where when
(Dont forget time!)

Geographic Information Technologies

technologies for dealing with this information
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) Remote Sensing (RM) Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

GIS--whats in the S?
Systems: the technology Science: the concepts and theory Studies: the societal context

Geographic Information Technologies (Tools)

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) a system of earth-orbiting satellites which can provide precise (100 meter to sub-cm.) location on the earths surface (in lat/long coordinates or equiv.) Remote Sensing (RS) use of satellites (and aircraft) to capture information about the earths surface Geographic Information Systems (GISy) at a minimum, comprises a capability for input, storage,GPS manipulation output of geographic and RS areand sources of input data for a GISy. information
A GISy provides for storing and manipulating GPS and RS data.

GI Systems, Science and Studies Which will we do?

technology for the acquisition and management of spatial information

comprehending the underlying conceptual issues of representing data and processes in space-time the science (or theory and concepts) behind the technology Studies understanding the social, legal and ethical issues associated with the application of GISy and GISc

Defining Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

The common ground between information processing and the many fields using spatial analysis techniques. (Tomlinson, 1972) A powerful set of tools for collecting, storing, retrieving, transforming, and displaying spatial data from the real world. (Burroughs, 1986) A computerised database management system for the capture, storage, retrieval, analysis and display of spatial (locationally defined) data. (NCGIA, 1987) A decision support system involving the integration of spatially referenced data in a problem solving environment. (Cowen, 1988)

An Inelegant Definition for GISy

A system of integrated computer-based tools for end-to-end processing (capture, storage, retrieval, analysis, display) of data using location on the earths surface for interrelation in support of operations management, decision making, and science.
set of integrated tools for spatial analysis encompasses end-to-end processing of data
capture, storage, retrieval, analysis/modification, display

uses explicit location on earths surface to relate data aimed at decision support, as well as on-going operations and scientific inquiry

How GIS differs from Related Systems

DBMS--typical MIS data base contains implicit but not explicit locational information city, LGA,village, zip code, etc. but no geographical coordinates is 100 N. High around the corner or across town from 200 E Main? Automated Mapping (AM) --primarily two-dimensional display devices thematic mapping (choropleth,etc such as GRAPH, business mapping software) unable to relate different geographical layers (e.g location of boreholes and villages) automated cartography--graphical design oriented; limited database ability Facility Management (FM) systems- lack spatial analysis tools CAD/CAM (computer aided design/drafting)--primarily 3-D graphic creation (engineering design) & display systems dont reference via geographic location CAD sees the world as a 3-D cube, GIS as a 3-D sphere limited (if any) database ability (especially for non-spatial data) scientific visualization systems--sophisticated multi-dimensional graphics, but: lack database support lack two-dimensional spatial analysis tools

Major Questions for a GIS?

what exists at a certain location?

where are certain conditions


what has changed in a place over


what spatial patterns exist?

what if this condition occurred at

Why Study GIS?

80% of local government activities estimated to be geographically based

plats, zoning, public works (streets, water supply), garbage collection, land ownership and valuation

a significant portion of state government has a geographical component

natural resource management highways and transportation

businesses use GIS for a very wide array of applications

retail site selection & customer analysis logistics: vehicle tracking & routing natural resource exploration (petroleum, etc.) precision agriculture

civil engineering and construction

scientific research employs GIS

geography, geology, botany anthropology, sociology, economics, political science Epidemiology, criminology

Examples of Applied GIS

Urban Planning, Management & Policy

Zoning, subdivision planning Land acquisition Economic development

Civil Engineering/Utility Locating underground facilities Designing alignment for freeways, transit Coordination of infrastructure maintenance

Code enforcement
Housing renovation programs Emergency response Crime analysis Tax assessment

Business Demographic Analysis Market Penetration/ Share Analysis Site Selection

Environmental Sciences

Education Administration

Monitoring environmental risk

Modeling stormwater runoff Management of watersheds, floodplains, wetlands, forests, aquifers Environmental Impact Analysis Hazardous or toxic facility siting

Attendance Area Maintenance

Enrollment Projections School Bus Routing

Real Estate Neighborhood land prices Traffic Impact Analysis Determination of Highest and Best Use

Groundwater modeling and contamination tracking

Political Science
Redistricting Analysis of election results Predictive modeling

Health Care Epidemiology Needs Analysis Service Inventory

What GIS Applications Do: manage, analyze, communicate

make possible the automation of activities involving geographic data

map production calculation of areas, distances, route lengths measurement of slope, aspect, viewshed logistics: route planning, vehicle tracking, traffic management

allow for the integration of data hitherto confined to independent domains (e.g property maps and air photos). by tying data to maps, permits the succinct communication of complex spatial patterns (e.g environmental sensitivity). provides answers to spatial queries (how many AIDS infections cases have been identified in villages around Kaduna town?) perform complex spatial modelling (what if scenarios for transportation planning, disaster planning, resource management, utility design)

GIS System Architecture and Components

Data Input Geographic Database

Query Input Transformation and Analysis Output: Display and Reporting

The GIS Data Model: Purpose

allows geographic features in real world locations to be digitally represented and stored in a database so that they can be abstractly presented in map (analog) form, and can also be worked with and manipulated to address some problem

What makes data spatial?

Grid co-ordinate Latitude / Longitude Postcode Description Distance & bearing Placename

Representing Data with Raster and Vector Models

Raster Model area is covered by grid (usually) equalsized cells cells often called pixels (picture elements); raster data often called image data attributes are recorded by assigning each cell a single value based on the majority feature (attribute) in the cell, such as land use type.

Raster Data Model

DN = 2 = river DN = 20 = settlement DN = 44 = farmland DN = 89 = forest

Raster and Vector

The fundamental concept of vector GIS is that all geographic features in the real world can be represented either as: points or dots (nodes): Taps, trees, poles, wells, airports, cities lines (arcs): streams, streets, sewers, roads, tracks areas (polygons): land parcels, cities, counties, forest, rock type

Vector Data Model

Concept of Vector and Raster

Real World

Raster Representation
0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 R R R R R R R R R R T T T T H 6 7 R T T H 8 9

Vector Representation



Projection, Scale, Accuracy and Resolution

the key properties of spatial data

Projection: the method by which the curved 3-D surface of the earth is represented by X,Y coordinates on a 2-D flat map/screen distortion is inevitable Scale: the ratio of distance on a map to the equivalent distance on the ground in theory GIS is scale independent but in practice there is an implicit range of scales for data output in any project Accuracy: how well does the database info match the real world Positional: how close are features to their real world location? Consistency: do feature characteristics in database match those in real world is a road in the database a road in the real world? Completeness: are all real world instances of features present in the database? Are all roads included. Resolution: the size of the smallest feature able to be recognized for raster data, it is the pixel size

The tighter the specification, the higher the cost.

The GIS Data Model: Implementation Geographic Integration of Information

Administrative Boundaries
Utilities Zoning Buildings Parcels Hydrography Streets Digital Orthophoto

Data is organized by layers, coverages or themes (synonymous concepts), with each theme representing a common feature. Layers are integrated using explicit location on the earths surface, thus geographic location is the organizing principle.

The GIS Model: example

roads longitude
Here we have three layers or themes: --roads, --hydrology (water), --topography (land elevation)
They can be related because precise geographic coordinates are recorded for each theme.

Layers are comprised of two data types hydrology longitude Layers may be represented in two ways: in vector format as points and lines in raster(image) format as pixels All geographic data have 4 properties: projection, scale, accuracy and resolution
Spatial data which describes location (where) Attribute data specifing what, how much,when

topography longitude

Spatial and Attribute Data

Spatial data (where) specifies location Attribute (descriptive) data (what, how much, when) specifies characteristics at that location, natural or human-created stored in a data base table GIS systems traditionally maintain spatial and attribute data separately, then join them for display or analysis for example, in ArcView, the Attributes of table is used to link a shape file (spatial structure) with a data base table containing attribute information in order to display the attribute data

Attribute Data

Software for GIS: The Main Players

ESRI, Inc., Redlands, CA clear market leader with about a third of the market originated commercial GIS with their ArcInfo product in 1981 privately owned by Jack Dangermond, a legend in the field Strong in gov., education, utilities and business logistics MapInfo, Troy N.Y. Aggressive newcomer in early 1990s, but now well-established. Strong presence in business, especially site selection & marketing, and telecom Intergraph (Huntsville, AL) origins in proprietary CAD hardware/software Older UNIX-based MGE (Modular GIS Environment) evolved from CAD new generation GeoMedia product based on NT is now their main focus strong in design, public works, and FM (facilities management) Bentley Systems (Exton, PA) MicroStation GeoGraphics, originally developed with Intergraph, is now their exclusive and main product.. Strong in engineering; advertises itself as geoengineering Autodesk (San Rafael, CA) Began as PC-based CAD, but now the dominant CAD supplier First GIS product AutoCAD Map introduced in 1996 Primarily small business/small city customer base

The main two pure GIS companies.

Software for GIS: other players

Vector GIS Smallworld Systems (Englewood, CO)
first to use OO (early 90s), but failed to compete as established vendors did same Purchased by GE in 2000 emphasis on FM & utilities

Raster GIS
long established leader acquired by Leica Geosystems in 2001

aggressive newcomer originating in Australia

relative newcomer, radar specialization acquired by Kodak in 2000

long-term Canadian player

Manifold (CDA International Corp):

low cost, but low market share

newer Canadian entry

GRASS (Rutgers Univ.)

Classic old-timer originally developed by US Army Construction Engineering Research Lab(CERL) in Champaign, IL; army ended dev. & support in 1996 but assumed by Baylor University.

Maptitude (Caliper Corp, Newton, MA):

another low cost one

IDRSI (Clark Univ)

pioneering, university-developed package