|GIS is a computer technology
that uses a geographic information system as an analytic
framework to manage and integrate data, solving a problem, or
understand a past, present, or future situation.
GIS is more than mapping software.
When deployed with a clear strategy, GIS is a technology that
can change an organization fundamentally and positively. GIS
goes beyond mining data to give you the tools to interpret the
data and lets you model scenarios to test various hypotheses and
see outcomes visually. The application of GIS is unlimited.
GPS used with GIS can help us find our way and
replace assets. Previously located features such as signs,
lights and hydrants can be found using a GPS unit utilizing the
longitude and latitude or X, Y coordinates. New items can then
be installed making travel safe again. GPS can also be use to
find your way using coordinates when there are no street signs.
Why use GIS?
GIS goes beyond mining data by
giving you the tools to interpret data, allowing you to see
relationships, patterns, or trends intuitively that are not
possible to see with traditional charts, graphs, and
GIS can help us to work more efficiently by
locating and networking utility features, GIS enables the
utility department to quickly locate homes affected by a water
line break. Maintenance records on the pipes and other fixtures
can be tracked using GIS.
GIS tracks and can maintain assets, locating
features such as fire hydrants, street signs, and lights, it is
easy to determine maintenance schedules and current conditions
of the assets.
GIS can be used to help keep us safe by tracking and mapping the
instances of fire-related calls, the response times, along with
dollar loss of the incidents. The fire department can readily
see where it can make improvements, such as mapping out one and
one half and three mile routes from each fire station, this
shows the greatest need for new stations.
One of the tools meteorologists use to track hurricanes is GIS.
We have all seen the devastation after a hurricane. What do we
do next? How can GIS help? GIS can assist with damage
assessment. Field crews can call in locations of impassible
roads due to fallen trees, downed power lines, or flooding. This
information can be entered into a GIS database with the results
shown instantly. Locations of structural damage can also be
mapped and other information entered to assist in clean up and
repair. Aerial photographs can give us a birds-eye view of the
How does GIS use
With a geographic information
system (GIS), you can link information (attributes) to location
data, such as people to addresses, buildings to parcels, or
streets within a network. You can then layer that information to
gain a better understanding of how it all works together. You
choose what layers to combine based on what questions you need
Where do the
layers come from?
Information to create a GIS
layer comes from several different sources, such as aerial
photographs, GPS points, tabular data, or digital maps.
Parcel layer: The parcel layer
with the Property Appraiser’s information included can tell
us many things about the properties such as parcel size,
location, value, and sales information.
Parcels showing just market value:
Properties can be color coded to show the market value. Any
field in the table can be used to show the unique
attributes. Other information such as the year a structure
was built or even if the property has a pool can be queried
and the results reflected on a map or exported to a new
Parcels with / without Homestead Exemptions: GIS can
easily show properties with and without homestead exemptions
indicating which homes are owner occupied. The possibilities
are only limited to the amount of data in the table.
Street layer: The street layer
used on a map helps to pinpoint a location. However, the
real strength of the street layer lies in the address
information contained in the table. This allows the 911 CAD
system to use this layer. Routing is created to show the
most efficient way from Point A to Point B. This layer also
allows you to geocode a database of addresses and create
points at their location.
Zoning or future land use layer:
The zoning layer allows you to see how land is divided into
different zoning areas. A project requiring a particular
code can be queried and the matching areas are quickly
located. The future land use layer can be use the same way.
Layering the layers: You can
add multiple layers together to show the spatial
relationship between them. We can use this information for
planning purposes or to determine the distance between two
or more features.
Layers in the water and on the beach:
GIS can help us keep tabs on turtle nests and show where the
and ICW markers
are to aid in boating navigation.
We can use census data to learn
more about the demographics of our area and see trends and
patterns over time.
Aerial photographs can give us a
birds-eye view. Compare the two photographs below. Aerial images
have been enhanced and can provide precise detail of land mass.