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Exploring the Impact of Geographic Information Systems


GIS has mostly been behind more popular buzzwords like machine learning and deep learning. GIS has always been around us in the background being used in government, business, medicine, real estate, transport, manufacturing etc.



Geographic Information Systems are seeing a new popularity in recent times partly thanks to the COVID-19 Outbreak that has prompted may people to use spatial analysis to showcase the spread of the virus. GIS has mostly been behind more popular buzzwords like machine learning and deep learning. GIS has always been around us in the background being used in government, business, medicine, real estate, transport, manufacturing etc.

There are a few big players in the GIS software industry. The following are used to create static and/or web-based interactive maps:

Other alternatives are using a language like R, Python and Javascript:

The following services can be used to host spatial layers that are too large to be rendered with a standard personal machine which is most likely the case for many geospatial applications:

GIS developers are spoilt for choice and have an array of choices to (some free and some not) to explore and learn new skills.

Lets now see how GIS analysis impacts our society.

 

1. Franchising

 

In the world of franchising, franchisees are assigned a location and/or territory by their franchisor to operate their own business using the franchisor's brand. Using GIS analysis, franchisors can give their franchisees insights about their location such as a demographic profile, competitor analysis, traffic generators etc to market the attractiveness of franchise locations. These services can help businesses to have a better assessment of their site to expand while minimizing risk.

 

2. Education

 

Educational institutions operate on the base of demographics. By using spatial data, education institutions can isolate areas of interest that have an abundance of their core demographic (e.g.: ages 5-19) to be closer to them, for marketing purposes and open new campuses for future expansion. Countries are divided by spatial boundaries and these spatial files can carry valuable demographic information that can help these institutions make decisions.

Another application is school enrolment analysis whereby an institution's students (current and future) can be mapped and have their geographic distribution identified. This can assist with marketing and expansion plans.

 

3. Smart Cities

 

Smart City GIS is an integrated cross-sectoral platform to collect, manage, compile, analyze and visualize spatio-temporal information for sustainable urban planning, development and management. GIS is deployed at every stage of planning and development of a Smart City. The underlying framework is served by ICT (Information and Communications Technologies), while the focus is on the ‘spatial’ or GIS. The common platform operates through all stages of the life cycle – from modeling, planning, building to managing – across the full spectrum of functionalities.

 

4. Public Health

 

In 2020, Public Health applications of GIS is arguably the most mainstream application at the moment. GIS has been used to study and visualize the spread of COVID-19 across the globe and inform the public of what is happening. GIS was the catalyst for the spread of useful information for governments, businesses and the public. Epidemiologists are tasked with studying the spread of diseases in society and GIS has enabled parts of their analysis to reach the billions of people around the world.

 
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