Five unique concepts powering GIS
GIS technology has matured over a period of time and today being considered as nerve system of planning. It incorporates several revolutionary concepts which are to pave the way for faster development. Considering the wide scope of subject, the present discussion touches in brief the top five concepts as I perceive, the benefits of GIS .
Capability to integrate multiple types of data:
One of the most unique capabilities of GIS technology is its power to integrate spatial and non spatial data sets. In past, the processing of different data types was carried out through different products. Emerging of GIS to provide integration of different types of data in same platform has brought many folds advantages . It demonstrated how the values contained in a table may be represented visually .
A table , where one could generate maximum, minimum, average or other statistical interpretations, representation of data in the form of map provided additional dimension such as distribution of data, identification of hot spots, correlation between different data sets and many more aspects which could never have been possible with tabular representations. The representation of statistical values in the form of thematic maps gained sufficient public interest. Further, incorporation of location data, satellite/ aerial images, GPS and other spatial data sets, have enriched visualization. It is noted that the power of the combined data has not only unlimited potential for visualization but also capable of providing powerful analytics which is limited to ones imagination.
- Data Validation: Accuracy of data has always been a subject of debate. While there have been methods to validate data , they work out quit expensive or time consuming and still the results may not be reliable. GIS technologies, however, have power to validate data to a great extent. The various data set are stored as layers in the data base. As the multiple referenced layers are overlaid, the inaccuracies start to surface. Visualization through remote presents an accurate scenario. Overlay of other data sets in such backdrops gives a large scope to validate data. Critical analysis of data , through multiple layers may bring out the anomalies and unreasonability of data.
- Improved communication: World over selection of a language for implementation of IT solution, is a challenging task. A system developed in specific language targets the specific audience. GIS technologies are unique to break such barriers by giving rise to a new language which has shifted focus from “reading” to “viewing”. It sets a new standard to communicate. Visual representations are capable to present information running in several pages in simple one page compositions. Such compositions can be colourful, simple to understand and interesting to look at. The technology hence, holds a promise to reach masses at much faster pace.
- Enforcing discipline through Standards: Traditionally IT solutions did not consider it essential to adopt standards. Implementation of GIS, right from its beginning, emphasises on defining its coverage through standards. With advancements in technology, most of the solutions today are developed through incorporation of local or global services. The users, therefore, prior to development of GIS must understand the very nature of the services which are proposed to be used and adopt standards accordingly. GIS implementation , hence may be seen as a teamwork where rules are defined through standards for successful outcome. A practice of such type only can pave the way for implementation of large systems benefitting the society.
- Cost effective : Cost effectiveness of any system in most generic form can be understood as comparison of amount of money spent in implementing GIS versus benefits accrued. The benefits may be measured in terms of revenue or efficiency. It is well understood that any IT system implemented today for making organizational decisions rely on its primary data. GIS technologies with their capability to integrate any type of data expands the scope to accommodate volume and variety of data. With powerful analytical capability, ease of operations and transparency through visualization it further adds benefit to decision making process. It is beyond doubt that a system with bundle of powerful features is to be cost effective subject to implementation not loosing the focus.