GIS and the Computer Graphics
Group #8 Geographical Information Systems
Table of Contents
GIS and the CG Department 5
GIS Applied to Construction Graphics 6
GIS Applied to Manufacturing Design Graphics 7
GIS Applied to Interactive Multimedia 7
GIS Applied to Computer Animation 8
GIS Applied to Primary Education 9
GIS Applied to Governments 11
Emergency Management 11
Health/Social Services 12
Environmental Usage/Protection 12
Law Enforcement 13
GIS Applied to Agriculture 14
GIS and the Internet 15
Methods of GIS Data Collection/Integration 16
Data Collection 16
Aerial Photography/Remote Sensing 16
Tracking over time 16
GIS Components 16
Human Resources 17
A GIS Usage by Industry 18
B Resource Listing 20
C Glossary 26
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 2
Overview Section Reviews
The goals of this white paper are to: GIS and the CG Department
The Computer Graphics Department has
Show the emerging use of GIS in strived to keep its curriculum abreast of
the many industries and professions the leading edge of technology.
of the business world. Emerging technologies that have proven
themselves in the field are assimilated
Show how the combination of into the curriculum so that its students
databases and cartographic can become the nation‟s best
mapping have created a powerful practitioners and managers.
and multi-use system of displaying
cataloging and displaying data GIS Applied to Primary Education
The Computer Graphics Department has
Show how the Purdue University strived to keep its curriculum abreast of
Computer Graphics Department the leading edge of technology.
can/should/could facilitate GIS into Emerging technologies that have proven
the current curriculum. themselves in the field are assimilated
into the curriculum so that students can
become the nation‟s best practitioners
GIS Applied to Governments
With an increase in population, needs,
services, and other pieces of information,
governments around the world need to
find the most efficient way of storing and
sharing this „glut‟ of information.
Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
provide a medium in which governments
and agencies ranging from local, state,
provincial, national, and international can
share their data in a relatively simple and
GIS Applied to Agriculture
Currently, any farmer wishing to stay in
business must find every possible way to
cut costs. The recent implementation of
GIS into agriculture and the process of
farming gives them the opportunity to do
so. GIS allows the user to database
everything from soil samples to crop
history. In the end GIS can improve crop
yield and crop rate.
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 3
GIS applied to the CG Department
GIS and the Internet
The future of GIS and the Internet would
have to be GIS in today‟s network
information technology infrastructure. A
network-oriented geographic information
system would be used to fill the demand
of providing GIS functionality on the Net
by way of the World Wide Web.
Methods of GIS Data Collection
GIS technology gives researchers the
ability to examine the variations of the
Earth over days, months, and years.
These analyses are made possible both
by GIS technology and by the availability
of digital data on regional and global
Three appendices are included with this
GIS uses by industry
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 4
GIS applied to the CG Department
The Computer Graphics Department has
strived to keep its curriculum abreast of the
leading edge of technology. Emerging
technologies that have proven themselves in
the field are assimilated into the curriculum
so that students can become the nation‟s
best practitioners and managers.
Geographical Information Systems are an
emerging technology that has recently
exploded into the workplace as an efficient
and flexible method of storing and
displaying spatial data in a variety of
With the emergence of this new and exciting
technology, there are many businesses that
have utilized GIS for many different reasons.
These businesses will need people to
facilitate the systems that they are using,
and the Computer Graphics Department of
Purdue University can provide its current
students with the knowledge that they will
need to be of value to these businesses.
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 5
GIS applied to the CG Department
GIS applied to Construction value of surrounding homes, or the average
Graphics income of the surrounding residence.
Another could be the average age of local
Geographical Information Systems have residence. One of the maps could show
many applications in the construction relationships to important sites such as
industry. It can and should be used in every schools, hospitals, and police stations
phase of the building process. As
construction companies realize that The next area that the construction industry
technology is essential to can use GIS is with current building
survive, they will realize projects. Many
that GIS is the next step. construction
GIS works like a 3D companies have
modeler does in multiple projects going
manufacturing. People can at one time. It would
visualize information be useful to have a
displayed on a map much map with all of the
better than a page full of current projects
text. Since these maps plotted on it. Each of
must communicate these job sites could
information from the Picture courtesy of then have information
architect to the project Edrawings.com incorporated into it. It
manager to the contractors www.edrawings.com could have
and sub contractors and information about the
possibly even the home owner, they must projects specifications and estimates on time
be as easy to visually as possible. and money. The map could also include up
to date reports telling the progress of the
One area that the construction industry uses project and setbacks the builder may have.
GIS is to research prospective building sites.
This includes current housing developments The real power of the application of GIS to
and surveys of undeveloped land areas. construction is when it is networked so
Basically it can be used to answer the multiple parties can use the information.
questions, where do we build next, and One of the major things happening in the
what should we build there? If a contractor construction industry is the move to virtual
were interested in building in a certain area, communication where everyone working on
it would be helpful to have a set of maps a project is linked by an interactive web site.
that gave him information GIS maps could be
about a surrounding area. incorporated into this
One map could be a 3D virtual connection to
contour map of an enhance the amount of
undeveloped site with information each party
information about slopes receives. This process
and elevations. This would saves everybody time
help give him an idea of and money because
where to put a structure. the information that
they need is always
Another helpful feature available.
would be a map with 3D Contour Map courtesy of
information about the Spectra Precision Software, Inc.
surrounding community. www.plus3.com E-commerce
One of the major sources
for this kind of information is the U.S. This brings us to the final and most
Census Bureau (www.census.gov). For powerful stage of GIS. The application of all
instance, one map could show the average of the information taken from a job site and
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 6
GIS applied to the CG Department
incorporated into e-commerce. What this The cost for materials used in
means is giving the customer a CD-ROM or different products.
web site that allows them to view the Knowing the type of material for
current projects and the homes available to specific job.
them. One example would be a web site Transferring information on a piece
with a map of all of the homes that the of steel to a piece of aluminum.
company built and all the lots the customers Recycling (knowing how much scrap
can have a home built on. In the case of will remain)
the undeveloped lot, the customer would Element analysis
have access to all of the surrounding Simulation (collection of correct
demographic information discussed earlier. data).
In the case of the finished home, the builder Rapid prototyping (models)
would put all of the information about the Inventory
home into the map. If the builder had a Reordering
parametric model of the house created, this
information could be transferred into the According to Dr. Bannatyne, we use the
map. This would incorporate dimensions types mention above on a regular basis by
and any specifications the model held into we don‟t realize that they could be
the GIS map. considered GIS or IS. That means the
department is using this type of technology
What do all of these things have to do with already, but the term GIS isn‟t defined
the computer graphics department? We clearly enough therefore many have no clue
believe everything. The many applications what GIS really is.
of GIS in construction means that there has
to be people to operate these systems. GIS
is a very visual application, which means it GIS applied to Interactive
relates very closely to the Computer Multimedia Development
Graphics department. This, added to the
fact that the CG department already has a One would be hard-pressed to find an area
strong construction graphics curriculum, of specialty that does not require graphics in
makes it a good match with endless one form or another. As computers have
possibilities. propagated into the household, people have
become accustomed to ever-increasing
amounts of interactivity. It is in this area
GIS applied to Manufacturing that the Interactive Multimedia Development
Graphics area of the CG department can have the
largest effect on GIS.
Having spoken to Dr. Bannatyne, who is an
Associate Professor in the School of With the ability of most GIS software
Technology (Computer Graphics packages to display a wide variety of media
Technology) on how GIS could be applied to to augment the information that they
manufacturing Graphics, he then talked to present, there will always be a need for
me about Pro/ENGINEER. The functions people that can create the media in a form
that Pro/ENGINEER offers can be considered that is complimentary to the data, and to
GIS or IS (Information System), such as the program.
Model creation. Another facet of GIS that is of use to a
Calculation of the size and material. multimedia developer is the ability to track
Marketing (one part to fit another). sales/trend type data. These numbers may
Having a cost for producing certain be sales per city/county/state, demographic
products. information, and customer data. These data
would allow developers to tailor the media
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 7
GIS applied to the CG Department
they create so that it will have the most GIS applied to the CG
effect on their audience. department Conclusion
In these regards, the Interactive Multimedia The Computer Graphics department has a
Development specialty is currently setup to lot to gain from incorporating Geographical
provide the workforce that is capable of Information Systems into the curriculum. As
developing the desired media. The only to where GIS should be placed is ultimately
major modification required to enhance up to the faculty, it is our belief that it will
these skills are the training in what form the have the largest impact on the Construction
media should be in, and the way to apply Graphics field. It is in this field that GIS has
the media into the program. had and will continue to have the largest
effect on. At this time, it would seem
GIS applied to Technical unwise to initiate the teaching of an entire
Animation and Spatial Graphics class until personnel could either be brought
into the department, or current personnel
This area of computer graphics is concerned could be trained to use a GIS package. It is
with the analysis, design, production, and also our belief that software from ESRi
distribution of motion/time based computer (www.esri.com) should be used to
graphics, both of linear and non-linear incorporate GIS into the department. ESRI
qualities. Study in animation and spatial seems to have its finger on the pulse of GIS
graphics courses focus on developing and and is a recognized world-leader in GIS
integrating skills in raster and vector graphic applications. Many institutions and
technology. corporations currently use products by ESRI
and it makes the most sense for Computer
I believe that GIS can be applied to this Graphics Students to use applications that
particular area in the curriculum in the are considered among the best in the
following ways: industry. We believe that to facilitate the
incorporation of GIS into the curriculum,
GIS can build three-dimensional models, that a representative of ESRI be asked to sit
where the topography of a geographical on the Industrial Advisory Board or at least
location can be represented with an x, y, be asked to consult on what would be the
and z data model known as the elevation best way for the department to make these
model. initial steps.
These models can be used to analyze
environmental changes or engineering
projects that are influenced by the elevation
models that GIS would help you develop.
The visualization power of the computer
allows for the data to be seen in three-
dimensional form, often from any point of
Also the surface models that you create can
be animated to show the different changes
over time that they have went through. The
spatial distribution of various factors
(temperature, precipitation, concentrations
of chemicals, soil properties) is modeled
from discrete data collected from your GIS
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 8
GIS applied to Primary Education
With the decrease in the cost of computers Vocational schools, major universities, and
and the increase in technical proficiency those schools fortunate to be able to:
amongst children, Geographical Information 1) afford computers and experienced
Systems (GIS) have the ability to provide an teachers, and 2) students capable enough to
entirely new dimension to learning. Aside make use of the technology, can offer
from the obvious uses as a learning tool for courses that teach GIS. These classes may
Geography classes, GIS can be applied to take the form of either basic utilization of
virtually all types of classes. the system, or it can be tailored to a
particular field of industry.
Once a plan of use has been established,
The first thing that schools need to do there are many different ways to implement
before they invest in GIS for their GIS into a classroom, from a single
classrooms is to determine computer projecting the
how they would like to screen image to an entire
“We learned that while
incorporate it into the lab dedicated to a class.
we tried to make the Each system has its pros
tools as friendly as and cons.
Learning or Learning possible, if there wasn’t a
teacher willing and able The one computer setup
from? involves the teacher
to run with it, and a place
using the program to
The challenge that most in the curriculum, then it supplement the in class
schools face is, do we teach wouldn’t fly” lessons. Learning on a
about GIS or do we teach couple of different levels
with it? Both of these can be is accomplished in this
advantageous for students, system. The first level is
ESRI Schools & Libraries
but ultimately it boils down the combination of
to how does the school want sound, video, pictures
to implement GIS. Many and textual information that can be
schools may find it more practical to use GIS assimilated into a GIS system, giving the
as a supplemental activity rather than as a teacher and the students a more fulfilling
course in itself. and complete educational experience. The
second level that accompanies this type of
All educational levels will find it beneficial to system is the learning of the software by
use GIS as a supplemental learning device. watching an experienced user go through
Virtually all types of classrooms can use GIS the program as they are taught the lessons.
to expand on the lessons that they learn
everyday. Obviously Social Studies, History, The second type of computer setup
Geography, Economics, Sociology and involving GIS is the multi-computer lab
Science classes have the most to gain from environment. In this setting, students sit no
this technology, but many other classes, more than 2 to a computer while they run
such as, Literature, can use GIS to show through either a structured lesson, or they
things like the environment, climate, political navigate a GIS database making
boundaries, and proximities to areas of observations based upon the relationships
interest that may have had an impact on they perceive from the data that they have
Literature throughout history. queried. This form has the most potential
for learning for middle school students as it
Unfortunately most schools at this point and forces students to use the skills of creative
time will not have the financial resources to questioning, random exploration, and
dedicate to the hardware, software, and the careful analysis of the data on the screen.
teaching that can make this system possible. Due to the fact that GIS in the school
environment is a recent development, there
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 9
GIS applied to Primary Education
is no statistical proof that it is the best
method of learning, or in which form GIS
data should be implemented into a primary
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 10
GIS applied to Governments
With an increase in population, needs, locations of mobile units can be
services, and other pieces of information, determined for even quicker responses.
governments around the world need to find 5) GIS and GPS can be implemented in
the most efficient way of storing and sharing the recovery phase of an emergency. The
this „glut‟ of information. Geographical two systems can be combined to denote
Information Systems (GIS) provide a properties that are damaged and the
medium in which governments and agencies extent to which each property is damaged
ranging from local, state, provincial, can be displayed.
national, and international can share their
data in a relatively simple and efficient Through the use of GIS and GPS, not all
manner. disasters may be able to be prevented, but
the disastrous effects can be lessened by
Emergency Management the efficiency and planning capabilities that
these systems can help to provide.
The ability to predict and prevent
emergencies and disasters from occurring Military
has been a dream of city planners for many
years. Through the use of GIS, city For a military commander, information is
planners may finally have a chance to ammunition. Paper maps have been the
accomplish this goal. backbone of every army for over the last
1000 years. Satellite imagery, unmanned
The main task of any good emergency reconnaissance vehicles, and a plethora of
management department is to protect life, other devices/methods of information
property, and then the environment. To acquisition tools have been used to gain a
accomplish this goal, officials can use GIS to better picture of the battlefield. The storing
1) Take into account what hazards may be and viewing of this information has primarily
present in the area, and what damage been delegated to a low ranking officer with
would be caused from those hazards. a marker and either a paper map or more
2) Taking the data from the previous step recently acetate overlays. With the
and applying prevention and safety decrease in computing cost and the increase
measures to the peoples and properties in in computing power, the military is in a
the danger areas in an effort to prevent or unique position to revolutionize the way in
at the least lessen damage caused. which they store and display and dissimilate
3) Preparations for the disaster are the data.
next step with the data being used to
determine efficient locations for fire Current and foreseeable for GIS usage in
stations, paramedic units, evacuation the military involves many facets of the
routes, locations for shelters, and many Command, Support and Management
other responses to emergencies. The divisions, ranging from convoy planning,
system can also be used to monitor facilities and base management to fighting
variables around the danger areas, such force disposition, situation reports,
as, wind speed and direction, reservoir ammunitions loads. The area of which GIS
levels, temperatures, radiation, and holds the most promise is in the field of
ground moisture among others. Command, Control, Communication, and
4) Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) can be Intelligence (C3I).
used in conjunction with a GIS. Once the
location of an event is known, the closest The current holdback for implementation of
or quickest unit can be detailed to GIS throughout the military infrastructure is
respond. While en-route, data like the limited vision of some of the officers
building plans, hydrant locations, fuse box holding high-ranking positions. The desire
locations, and other significant items can to resist change is common throughout the
be relayed or displayed to the units. With history of mankind, but for the military, the
a system working with GPS locators, inability to change doctrine in the face of
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 11
GIS applied to Governments
new informational technologies prohibit the The locations of facilities such as blood
implementation of GIS. centers, outpatient clinics, factories, waste
dumps, and other facilities can also be
Some other limitations of GIS at this time is tracked in a similar fashion. A correlation of
the storage capacity required to adequately this data may find the cause of certain
map a combat theater. There are two ailments, such as, a proximity to factories,
methods of data storage that have been certain plants and animals, or other natural
suggested to implement, but each one has and unnatural impediments.
its drawbacks. Central storage involves a
main database with each unit downloading Social services can use GIS systems to
the appropriate information on an as needed determine what areas will need more case
basis. This method decreases the workers, more unemployment offices,
requirements for the smaller units, but it quickest routes for case-workers visiting
also increases the bandwidth requirements clients at home, child-care facilities, and
of the network being used. Local storage other various types of services based on the
involves each unit (located away from HQ) information that is in the database. Income
utilizing its own separate database that is can be shown by address, highlighting areas
periodically updated. This method spares where poverty/poor living conditions may be
the heavy burden on the network, but it also present, or relationships can be discovered,
increases the storage requirements of each like a concentration of domestic violence
unit located away from the unit cases in a certain part of town may be
headquarters. attributed to a certain cause.
Solutions proposed for this issue involve a Environmental Usage/Protection
creative combination of each method. This
involves a central data storage facility with Environmental agencies can use GIS in
the units on location having terrain and many ways. They can display data dealing
other relatively static features preset into with environmental conditions as well as
their systems and downloading updates to emergencies.
the information database.
The time before a hurricane hits is very
Health/Social Service limited. Evacuation of nearby areas is
crucial to saving lives. With GIS
As the number of people across the country Environmental agencies can create maps
increases, so does the number of patients showing demographic data of areas that will
that hospitals have to deal with, the number be affected by the hurricane. This can give
of medical service centers available, child- them vital information about how to
support services, and many other social and evacuate.
health services that are available to the
people that need them. An effective way of The same can be done for other
dealing with these steadily increasing environmental emergencies. The path and
numbers and services is by implementing a frequencies of tornadoes can be plotted to
GIS either in a city, county, state or regional show the risk factors of certain areas.
capacity. These can be used to warn people of high
These systems can keep track of the
locations of patients with certain medical Another use for GIS is deals with
ailments, medical needs, social support environmental conditions. Data fields can
needs, unemployment needs and other such be made concerning drinking water, air
factors in an all-inclusive database that pollutants, toxic waste, and so on. These
allows for analyses of data on a level that fields can be used to predict resource losses
wasn‟t possible a few years ago. and environmental erosion.
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 12
GIS applied to Governments
Transportation justice departments are using it to track
locations of crimes, criminals, and for
From railroads to highway commissions, GIS routing purposes.
plays an important and vital role in the
worlds transportation system. Governments Many agencies are currently utilizing GIS to
use it to plan new highway routes, maintain handle all of the task that used to require
existing roads, design new roads, and track countless man-hours of work. The number
the flow of traffic on those roads and of departments using GIS is steadily growing
highways. thanks in part to half-million dollar grant to
ESRI, for development of crime analysis
Railroads use GIS to track the land they tools that are affordable for most
own, the signal system that keeps the trains departments. As more and more law
running smoothly, the environmental effects enforcement agencies start to incorporate
of the track and trains, passenger statistics GIS into their organizations, people should
and data on the amount of goods being be able to walk the streets at night without
Airlines use GIS to visualize flight paths, Utilities
reduce noise by modifying flight paths, Utilities ranging from telecommunications,
manage assets in air and on ground, water, and power/electric all have a need to
maintain and plan new airports, and to manage their data in a manner that allows
coordinate parking at terminals them to provide the best service possible at
the lowest cost. GIS can help utilities in a
Planning and construction, maintenance of number of ways. Determining the needs of
transportation structures and, the tracking the customers that they service is probably
of traffic flows are a few of the uses of GIS the most important task that GIS can do.
amongst the transportation authorities of Needs such as power and water usage,
the United States. telephone capacity needed at certain times,
and the type of cable services desired in
Law Enforcement areas are but a few of the many things that
IS can track for utility companies.
I an time of lower budgets and increasing
need of services, law enforcement agencies A Second area of service that GIS can do for
around the world are looking for a more utilities if the ability to keep track of the
efficient use of man-hours. Geographical conditions of the pipelines, power lines, and
Information Systems (GIS) can provide the other items of the utilities infrastructure.
solution that many of these agencies need. These can be in the form of periodic
maintenance checks or through the se of
The first aspect of GIS use by law monitoring equipment that provides an up-
enforcement agencies Is the ability generate to-date condition of the utilities inner-
maps based on requested data. This allows workings.
officers to predict areas of importance based
on prior activity, location, and based on the Business
interpretation of the officers looking at the
data. This powerful new technology allows Regardless of what products a company
police chiefs to determine ideal sites for new sells, there is one common thread next to
stations, assistance for neighborhood watch the almighty dollar that all business shares.
groups, and to other civil needs that fall That thread is information. Businesses rely
under the jurisdiction of the local police. on information about their sales, customers,
Aside from the uses of GIS by police/sheriffs
departments; Corrections departments, Customer service departments use GIS to
Parole and Probate services, and criminal determine the nearest dealer of products
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 13
GIS applied to Governments
that a customer can go to, and the best
route for deliveries to use. Companies can
use GIS to determine probable new sites for
warehouses, stores and other facilities
based on the companies needs.
Realtors use GIS the same way as
companies, but their information is tailored
to house buyers. Realtor.com is a web-
based example of GIS implementation into
the real estate profession.
Marketing departments and agencies use
GIS to keep track of trends; sales, and other
sales type data. This ability to see what
works in the different regions a sales area is
important when you want to make sure that
everyone is getting your message.
Most large companies and many small
businesses could save money by
implementing GIS into their corporations.
The data is already in their databases; all
that is required is to implement it into a GIS
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 14
GIS applied to Agriculture
Currently, any farmer wishing to stay in data the farmer specifies. The maps are
business must find every possible way to cut then analyzed to determine things such as
costs. The recent implementation of GIS chemical distribution and seed distribution.
into agriculture and the process of farming This information is then inputted into a
gives them the opportunity to do so. GIS portable computer to be transferred to the
allows the user to database everything from farm itself.
soil samples to crop history. In the end GIS
can improve crop yield and crop rate. The next step is to transfer the data to a
device that controls the distribution of
The first thing that must be addressed is the resources such as seeds or pesticides. They
individual capabilities of GIS when applied to are distributed by spouts in the field that are
agriculture. Any information that is needed located by GPS coordinates that have been
by a farmer can be linked to a map and imbedded in the map data. The device then
cross-referenced with other data sets. uses this location of the spouts along with
the specifications decided by the farmer and
GIS can map the results of soil samples the consulting firm to regulate the flow of
taken at various points in the field. These resources to each location.
samples include percentages of certain
minerals. The location of The process up to this
these samples is point is very helpful to
determined through the the farmer, but it is only
use of GPS (Global half of the total
Positioning System). application. Now the
This information can farmer must collect the
then be entered into a information that the
GIS program to produce distribution device has
maps that the farmer recorded and take it back
can easily understand. to the consulting firm by
means of the portable
GIS can also be used to computer. There it can
map out rainfall patterns Picture courtesy of Geofocus, Inc. be transferred into
or insect populations. www.gfocus.com historical land
Rainfall patterns can be information and
mapped according to time of year or incorporated back into the map.
amount of rainfall. This information can be
combined with a slope map to show where The benefits from using GIS to aid
rain accumulates may occur. agriculture are enormous. It saves the
farmer ecologically as well as economically.
One problem farmers face is over worked
land. They use to many pesticides or the
Putting it all together wrong chemicals and the soil becomes less
efficient at producing crops. When GIS is
The real power of GIS is seen when it is used to manage the condition of the soil,
incorporated into a network including GPS. this problem can be minimized if not
This is when the real application of GIS eliminated.
occurs. This process is referred to as
The first step in the process is for the
farmer to contact a consulting firm. They
will set him up with all the tools he needs to
incorporate GIS. The firm works with a GIS
program and creates the maps based on the
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 15
GIS and the Internet
The Positives Java applets being widely supported on
the World Wide Web browser,
The future of GIS and the Internet would Java provides the ability to operate the
have to be GIS in today‟s network same code on any system,
information technology infrastructure. A Java provide multiple capabilities to
network-oriented geographic information assist network-oriented GIS design,
system would be used to fill the demand of The network along with Java has a
providing GIS functionality on the Net by higher performance level than any other
way of the World Wide Web. method of providing GIS across the
The GIS network has several outstanding
features, such as dynamic construction, To sum up Java, technically it provides
object-orientation, system independence, superior performance by having the ability
along with distribution. to adopt a scheme where the interpreter can
The network-oriented GIS deals with two run full speed. Theoretically, it avoids lag
major methodologies like client/server time and it reduces the risk of losing and
computing and the object-oriented method. damaging data while transmitting over the
All of the applications established from this Internet.
system works in a client/server
environment, which deviates slightly from The Negatives
the conventional concepts.
Problems are common when you create
The object-oriented design goal is to create something from scratch, and there are some
robust software that can be reused, refined, problems to discuss.
tested, extended and maintain, which would Java has certain limitations and one of
also increase ROI. Object-oriented is used them is its ability to render graphic
to deal with real-world complexity and uses features as annotation along a line.
the concept of abstraction to decompose the The World Wide Web browser cannot
system into objects, that allows for print Java applets embedded in HTML.
independent operating ability. There several Local files cannot be read nor written by
types of object-oriented approaches that Java applets.
have been applied to GIS, some include GIS users cannot use the local data
object-oriented data model approach, the because of the security system of Java.
object-oriented data approach, and the Large image file.
object-oriented software approach. The Transfer time between client and the
reason we mention the object-oriented server.
approaches, because the object-oriented
software approach would aide to the design When the bugs are worked out of the
of the network-oriented GIS. system, the network-oriented GIS will
become the wave of the future.
There is a universal language the must be
used for this system. The language of
choice is Java. Java is an object-oriented
language that has network functionality.
Java supports the development of a
portable, interpreted, system independent,
distributing operating environment. Java
converts all high-level software into binary
instructions that the lowest level computer
chip can understand and execute. When
using Java you have four distinctive
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 16
Methods of GIS Data Implementation
Data Collection Censuses
Aerial photogrammetry/remote sensing: Statistical analysis and modeling of spatial
Remote sensing is the study of phenomena patterns and processes have long relied on
sensed from air or satellites. The use of computer technology. Advances in
remote sensing provides scientists with an information technology have made these
opportunity to interpret data as seen from techniques mode widely accessible and have
space. Remote sensing is widely used I such allowed models to expand in complexity and
locations as the arctic zones, deserts, scale to provide more accurate depictions of
forested areas, marshlands, and real-world processes.
mountainous regions. Remote sensing is Tracking over time:
most suitable for studying extensive areas
with difficult terrain, or where conventional GIS technology gives researchers the ability
surveys may be very costly. to examine the variations of the Earth over
days, months, and years. These analyses
Satellite and aerial remote sensing provide are made possible both by GIS technology
an infinite amount of information. Some of and by the availability of digital data on
the information that they can provide is regional and global scales. The satellite
ground conditions, vegetation, soil and sensor output used to generate data dealing
mineral composition. If data is collected on with vegetation is produced by the
a regular basis and over a long period of Advanced Very High Resolution
time, remote sensing can also help identify Radiometer(AVHRR). This satellite sensor is
the amount of change in ground conditions capable of detecting the amounts of energy
over the various seasons, such as soil reflected from the Earth across many bands
moisture changes. This information is very of the spectrum for surfaces areas of about
useful when mapping areas that witness 1 square km. The satellite sensor produces
frequently change land conditions, like crop images of the particular area twice a day. A
fields, beaches, and marshes. AVHRR is only one of the many sensor
systems used to analyze the Earth‟s surface.
Before any remote sensing image can be More systems will follow in the future,
mapped, it must first be cleared of errors generating even more amounts of data.
caused by geometric displacement or
interference from the atmosphere. The most GIS Components
common sources of error in satellite imagery
are: A working GIS consists of five key
Orbit and flight errors, components: hardware, software, data,
Earth curvature, people, and methods.
Rough terrain Hardware:
Atmospheric interference(cloud, The hardware consists of the computer on
fog, and smog) which the GIS operates. The GIS software
can operate on a variety of hardware types,
Digital correction of errors on images are which can range from centralized computer
made possible by computerized image servers to desktop computers used in stand-
processing techniques. Correcting the alone or networked configurations. Most GIS
geometric errors on individual images are programs are supported on several leading
usually undertaken by giving the computer UNIX platforms, which include:
the correct coordinates of known positions Data General A ViiON under
on the image. The image is then DG/UX operating system
automatically rescaled and rotated to DEC Alpha under Digital UNIX
produce a geographically correct image HP 9000/700 & 8x7 under HP-
IBM RS6000 under AIX
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 17
Methods of GIS Data Implementation
NEC EWS 4800 under EWS-UX
Silicon Graphics under IRIX Methods:
Sun under Solaris1 and Solaris 2 A successful GIS operates with a well
thought out plan, which are the models and
Software: operating practices unique to each individual
GIS software provides the functions and organization.
tools needed to store, analyze, and display
the geographic data. The main components
of the software are:
Tools for input and manipulation
of the geographic data
Tools to support geographic
queries, analyses, and
Graphical User Interface(GUI)
for access to tools
GIS software currently is in both the public
and private domain. The most common
software available to the general public is:
Map Overlay and Statistical
Geographical Resources Analysis
Wildland Resource Information
The most frequently used software in the
private sector includes:
Spatial Analysis System(SPANS)
Data is the most important component of
the GIS. Geographic data can be collected
in-house or purchased by an outside data
provider. The GIS will integrate spatial data
with other data resources and can even use
a DBMS, used by most organizations to
organize and maintain data.
GIS technology is of limited use without
people to manage the systems and develop
plans to apply it to real world situations. GIS
users can range from specialists in the field
that design and maintain the systems to
those that use the information to perform
their everyday tasks.
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 18
Appendices – Uses of GIS by industry
GIS usage by Industry Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice
Allows multiple sources to input
Agriculture information on criminal activity and
Allows for site-specific analyses of emergency response that can be
physical, chemical and crop data that analyzed visually.
can determine the cause of yield
variations. Libraries & Museums
Banking & Insurance Allows libraries and museums to
Allows banking institutions to target manage and present information in a
appropriate marketing and advertising way that is easier to understand.
resources to their customers based on
their purchasing habits. Logistics/Vehicle Management
Defense & Intelligence Allows delivery of goods to be more
Allows defense agencies to present a efficient by knowing where the product
wide variety of information onto one is at all times. It also allows helps
map, allowing for a more efficient level eliminating waste from the delivery
analysis of information. Also used to process as a whole.
show troop dispositions, status, and Mining
routes of movement. Allows for the collection of data
Electric and Gas Utilities pertaining to aerial photography,
Allows Utility companies to maximize satellite imagery, and magnetic and
efficiency through direct knowledge of gravity data. These can then be
the location of current and potential overlaid with fault maps, core hole sires,
clientele. and lease/claim boundaries.
Environmental Conservation & Petroleum
Management Allows data-basing of information such
Allows environmental agencies to as recourse location, and pipeline/well
monitor environmental issues using configuration to be presented on a
existing spatial and attribute data. It digital map.
also allows them to monitor potentially Pipeline
dangerous industries. Allows pipeline owners/operators to plan
Federal Government routes and construction paths, flow
Allows federal agencies to become more efficiencies, pipeline integrity and supply
efficient through the use of current analysis.
geographical information. Public Safety
Forestry Facilitates the planning of emergency
Allows foresters to monitor and make responses, dispatch critical information
decisions about the resources in a to response vehicles, and predict a
certain area from a global viewpoint. future event based on past events.
Health Real Estate
Allows medical facilities to provide Allows the real estate industry to
customers with a direct knowledge of organize information about residential
health care locations ranging from areas into a map that can be easily
nursing homes to pharmacies. understood by themselves and clients.
K-12 Education Retail & Commercial Business
Allows teachers to enhance the lessons Allows business professionals to display
of the classroom by providing useful sales trends and patterns based on
maps, and representations that were geographic information from different
previously not available with the “static” sources.
wall maps that are currently in use in
many schools today.
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 19
Appendices – Uses of GIS by industry
State & Local Government
Allows state and local agencies to
become more efficient through the use
of current geographical information.
Allows Telecommunications companies
to maximize efficiency through direct
knowledge of the location of current and
potential clientele. It also allows them
to display information about networking
GIS allows for the tracking and routing
of vehicles, inventory tracking, and
Water & Wastewater
Allows water and sewer utilities to keep
track of the locations and conditions of
water mains, meters, valves, hydrants,
and other maintenance facilities.
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 20
Appendices – Glossary
As noted by the GIS Glossary Automated cartography:
(www.env.gov.bc.ca/gis/glosstxt.html) The process of drawing maps with
the aid of computer driven display
Accuracy: devices such as plotters and
1)The closeness of an estimated graphics screens. The term does not
(measured or computed) value to a imply any information processing.
standard or accepted value of a Bit map: A pattern of bits (i.e. ON/OFF) on
particular quantity, ie., relates to the the grid stored in memory and used to
quality of the result. generate an image on a raster scan display.
2)With regards to numbers in a CAD(D):
mathematical table or those Computer-Aided Drafting (Design)
produced by a computer Accuracy Cadastral:
may mean: (a) the number of Relatedto records of land-related
significant digits in the numbers, (b) tenure, whether surface or sub-
the order of magnitude of the least surface and whether linear, parcel-
significant digit. ( See also based or defined as a single point.
Algorithm: The basic element of spatial
A set of rules for solving a problem. information in the raster (grid)
An algorithm must be specified description of spatial entities.
before the rules can be written in a Chain:
computer language. A sequence of coordinates defining
American Standard Code for a complex line or boundary. See
Information Interchange (ASCII): Arc.
A widely used industry standard Character:
code for exchanging alphanumeric An alphabetical, numerical or special
codes in terms of bit-signatures. graphic symbol that is treated as a
American National Standards Institute single unit of data.
An association formed by the A graphic process of cutting lines
American Government and industry and symbols off the edge of a
to produce and disseminate widely display area.
used industrial standards. Contour:
Analog (or analogue): A line connecting points of equal
A continuously varying electronic elevation.
signal (contrast with Digital). Also Data Model:
refers to traditional paper mapping A data model is an abstract
products and aerial photographs. p> representation of the data used by
Application program or package: an organization, such that a
A set of computer programs meaningful interpretation of the
designed for a specific task. data may be made by the model's
Arc: readers. The data model may be at
A line connecting a set of points a conceptual, external or internal
that form one side of a polygon. level (as defined by ANSI).
Area: Database management systems
A fundamental unit of geographical (DBMS):
information. See polygon. A set of computer programs for
Attribute: organizing the information in a
Non-graphic information associated database. Typically, a DBMS
with a point, line, or area element in contains routines for data input,
a GIS. verification, storage, retrieval, and
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 21
Appendices – Glossary
Database: removing unwanted components
A collection of interrelated from a signal or spatial pattern.
information, usually stored on some Font:
form of mass-storage system such Symbolism used for drawing a line
as magnetic tape or disk. A GIS or representing typefaces used for
database includes data about the displaying text.
position and the attributes of Format:
geographical features that have The way in which data are
been coded as points, lines, areas, systematically arranged for storage
pixels or grid cells. in a computer and for transmission
Digital elevation model (DEM): between computers, or between a
A quantitative model of landform in computer and a device. Standard
digital form. Also digital terrain format systems are used for many
model (DTM). purposes.
The ability to represent data in The scientific study of the size and
discrete, quantized units or digits. shape of the earth and
Digitizer: determination of positions on it.
A device for entering the spatial Geodetic framework/network:
coordinates of mapped features A spatial framework of points whose
from a map or document to the position has been precisely
computer. determined on the surface of the
Edge matching: earth.
The process of ensuring that detail Geographic Information System (GIS):
along the edge of two adjacent map A system of capturing, storing,
sheets matches correctly. checking, integrating, analyzing and
Element: displaying data about the earth that
A fundamental geographical unit of is spatially referenced. It is normally
information, such as a point, line, taken to include a spatially
area, or pixel. May also be known as referenced data base and
an entity. appropriate applications software.
Feature Code: Geo-referencing:
A set of characters (alpha, The process of delimiting a given
alpha/numeric or numeric) within object, either physical (eg. a lake)
the GIS, which uniquely identifies a or conceptual (eg. an administrative
feature class or homogeneous group region), in terms of its spatial
of features. The following examples relationship to the land; the
are from the TRIM 1:20 000 geographic reference thus
Mapping Specifications: 33750000 - established consists of points, lines,
Wooded Area 25100190 - Paved areas or volumes defined in terms
Road 25000120 - Loose Surface of some coordinate system (usually
Road (Gravel) latitude and longitude, or UTM
File: northings and eastings, and
A collection of related information in elevation). The background
a computer that can be accessed by framework pertinent to geo-
a unique name. Files may be stored referencing includes: NTS and BCGS
on tapes or disks. grids and related features.
In raster graphics, particularly The activity of defining the position
image processing, a mathematically of geographical objects relative to a
defined operation for removing standard reference grid.
long-range (high-pass) or short
range (low-pass) variation. Used for
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 22
Appendices – Glossary
Geographics or geographic projection: Land parcel:
Representation of the earth's A tract of land, being all or part of a
surface as a projection onto legal estate
rectangular lines of latitude and LANDSAT:
longitude. The generic name for a series of
Global Positioning System: earth resource scanning satellites
A system of earth satellites, each launched by the United States of
providing precise time and position America.
information which enables a GPS Land tenure:
receiver to compute the distance to The mode of holding rights in land.
each satellite. The distance Latitude:
measurements of at least three Angular distance, expressed in
satellites are required to fix the degrees and minutes, along a
receivers position in latitude and meridian north or south of the
longitude. Measurements from a equator.
fourth satellite are required to Legend:
provide vertical (altitude) The part of the drawn map
positioning. explaining the meaning of the
Graphic Tablet: symbols used to code the depicted
A small digitizer ( usually 28 cms x geographical elements.
28 cms) used for interactive work Longitude:
with a GIS or CAD/CAM system. The angular distance east or west
Grey scales: from a standard meridian to another
Levels of brightness (or darkness) meridian on the earth's surface;
for displaying information on expressed in degrees and minutes.
monochrome display devices. LII:
Grid: Land Information Infrastructure
1. A network of uniformly spaced represents that physical
points or lines on the CRT for infrastructure that will enable the
locating positions. 2. A set of Government to realize the data
regularly spaced sample points. 3. sharing and exchange objectives
In cartography, an exact set of identified in CLISP. It establishes an
reference lines over the earth's overall target architecture which will
surface. 4. In utility mapping, the integrate land-related data,
distribution network of the utility application and supporting
resources, e.g. electricity or technologies within the
telephone lines. Government.
A copy on paper of a graphics or One of the basic geographical
map image originally displayed on a elements, defined by at least two
CRT. pairs of XY coordinates.
Image analysis: Look-up table:
The processing and interpretation of An array of data values that can be
graphic images held in digital form. quickly accessed by a computer
Input device: program to convert data from one
A hardware component for data form to another, e.g. from attribute
entry such as a digitizer, keyboard, values to colors.
scanner, tape drive. Map:
Interpolate: Cartography; a hand-drawn or
To estimate the value of an printed document describing the
attribute at an unsampled point spatial distribution of geographical
from measurements made at features in terms of a recognizable
surrounding sites. and agreed symbolism. Digital; the
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 23
Appendices – Glossary
collection of digital information Network:
about a part of the earth's surface. 1. Two or more interconnected
Map Generalization: computer systems for
The process of reducing detail on a implementation of specific functions.
map as a consequence of reducing 2. A set of interconnected lines
the map scale. The process can be (arcs, chains, strings) defining the
semi-automated for certain kinds of boundaries of polygons.
data, such as topographical Node:
features, but requires more insight The point at which areas (lines,
for thematic maps. chains, strings) in a polygon
Map projection: network are joined. Nodes carry
The basic system of coordinates information about the topology of
used to describe the spatial the polygons.
distribution of elements in a GIS Overlay:
Mathematics: The process of stacking digital
The study of geometric properties representations of various spatial
and spatial relations unaffected by data on top of each other so that
continuous change in the shape and each position in the areas covered
size of figures. can be analyzed in terms of these
Meta-data is data about data. It Peripheral Devices:
typically includes information such Hardware not part of the central
as currency, accuracy, extent, computer e.g. digitizers and plotters
custodianship, and collection Pixel:
methodology. Meta-data is typically Contraction of picture element;
stored in data models, dictionaries, smallest unit of information in a grid
schemas and other representations. cell map or scanner image.
1. The representation of the The technology used by an
attributes of the earth Às surface in application. E.g. GIS platform is the
a digital database. 2. The studying GIS software and hardware being
of landscape processes using used.
mathematical algorithms written in Plotter:
computer code. A device for outputting hard-copy
Modem: representations of data e.g. maps
A modulator-demodulator device p>
that allows data to be converted Polygon:
into a form whereby they can be A multi-sided figure representing an
transmitted as asset of pulses down area on a map.
a cable and then re-assembled at Precision:
the other end. A measure of the tendency of a set
Module: of random numbers to cluster about
A separate and distinct piece of a number determined by the set.
hardware or software that can be The usual measure is either the
connected with other modules to standard deviation with respect to
form a system. the average i.e., relates to the
Multi-spectral scanner system (MSS): quality of the method by which the
A device, often carried in airplanes measurements were made and is
or satellites, for recording received distinguished from accuracy which
radiation in several wavebands at relates to the quality of the result.
the same time.
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 24
Appendices – Glossary
Projection: National Standard for Geomatics
The representation on a plane data interchange. Designed
surface of any part of the surface of originally by the Government of
the earth. British Columbia, it is a specification
Raster-to-vector: for data which includes an object-
The process of converting an image oriented data model and a language
made up of cells into one described for describing both spatial and non-
by lines and polygons. spatial data. Particular file or
Raster: communications formats exist which
A regular grid of cells covering an are implementations of SAIF.
Record: The relation between the size of an
A set of attributes relating to a object on a map and its size in the
geographical entity; a set of related, real world.
contiguous data in a computer file. Scanner:
Redundancy: A device for converting images from
The duplication of data in the maps, photographs, or from part of
database to improve the ease and the real world into digital form
speed of access to data, with the automatically.
risk that changes may cause Sliver:
conflicting values. A gap formed when two lines which
Reference Ellipsoid: should be contiguous are slightly
An ellipsoid associated with a separated in a graphical
geodetic reference system or representation or map.
geodetic datum, whose surface is SPOT:
equi-potential and approximates the An earth resource satellite with high
geoid in size and position. Reference resolution sensors launched by
ellipsoids are most commonly France in January 1986.
ellipsoids of revolution and are Tessellation:
sometimes called reference The process of splitting an area into
Relational database: Thematic map:
A method of structuring data in the A map displaying selected kinds of
form of sets of records or tuples so information relating to specific
that relations between different themes, such as soil, land-use,
entities and attributes can be used population density, suitability for
for data access and transformation. arable crops, and so on. Thematic
RDBMS: information may be represented as
Relational Database Management labeled polygons. lines or points,
System (see Database Management chloropleth maps, isolines, etc.
System and Relational Database) Tile:
Resolution: A part of the database in a GIS
The smallest spacing between two representing a discrete part of the
display elements; the smallest size earth's surface. By splitting a study
of feature that can be mapped or area into tiles, considerable savings
sampled. in access times and improvements
Rubber sheeting: in system performance can be
The transformation of spatial data achieved.
to stretch or compress them to fit Topographic map:
with other data A map showing natural and man-
SAIF: made features as well as relief,
Spatial Archive and Interchange often in the form of contours.
Format. SAIF is the Canadian Draft
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 25
Appendices – Glossary
The configuration of a planetary
surface including its relief and the
position of its natural and man
The way in which geographical
elements are related to each other.
The topology of the data must be
defined before GIS analysis can be
The process of changing the scale,
projection, or orientation of a
A general-purpose, multi-user
computer operating system. (known
to its detractors as 'Eunuchs').
Vector graphics structure:
A means of coding line and area
information in the form of units of
data expressing magnitude,
direction, and connectivity.
A usually rectangular area that is
used to view or to transform the
A capability for proportionately
enlarging or reducing the scale of a
figure or maps displayed on a CRT.
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 26
Appendices – Resources
The Future of GIS on the Internet – White Paper (June 1997)
The Role of Geographic Information Systems on the Electronic Battlefield – White Paper
GIS in K-12 Education – White Paper (March 1998)
Organizational Structure for Local Government GIS – A Survey – White Paper (March 1997)
GIS for Emergency Services – White Paper (July 1999)
Enterprise GIS in Health and Social Service Agencies – White Paper (July 1999)
Creating Spatial Data: Finding the Right Tool for the Job – White Paper (June 1998)
Carney, Dan (April 1998), Hard Copy@civic.com
GIS and GPS Services (1999)
Agriculture: Geographic Matters to Agriculture (June 22, 1999)
Agriculture: GIS for Agricultural Production (July 24, 1998)
GIS and GPS Applications and consulting (1999)
GIS and GPS Applications and consulting (1999)
ESRI GIS Solutions for Production Agriculture-White Paper (November 1997)
Cyber Builder: Where to Build (June 1998)
City of Salinas and ESRI Develop Nationally Recognized Crime Analysis Applications (June
White paper – GIS (Geographical Information Systems) 27