Geographic Information System: A Tool for Decision-Making

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GIS – A tool for decision-making

Everyday you get up at 6 o’clock in the morning. Then you go to school at 8 o’clock which is four kilometres South to your house. You come back home at 4 o’clock in the afternoon travelling along the same route. Then at 5 o’clock you call your friends and go for a football game at the nearby playground, which is 10 minutes walk from your house. All of our activities are somewhat related to places and time in one way or the other. Lot of our planning and decision making- whether planning a new road, or finding a suitable location of health service or local development is influenced or dictated by location or geographic component. The major challenges we face in the world today – over population, deforestation, natural disasters have a critical geographic dimension. Our geography can be considered as a number of related data layers as illustrated in figure 3.1. Simply put, GIS combines layers of information about a place to give you a better understanding of that place. What layers of information you combine depends on your purpose, for example, finding the best location for a new supermarket, assessing environmental damage, tracking delivery vehicles, or modeling the global environment. A GIS stores information about the world as a collection of thematic layers that can be linked together by geography. This simple but extremely powerful and versatile concept has proven invaluable for solving many real-world problems. In the strictest sense, GIS are computer systems for collecting, storing, manipulating and displaying geographic information. There are many definitions for GIS. However, the major characteristics are the geographic (spatial) analysis functions that provide means for deriving new information based on locations.

GIS functions
There are four basic functions of GIS namely – Data capture, Data management, Spatial analysis and Presenting results. Data Capture
Data used in GIS come from many different sources, are...
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