Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are designed to gather, store, and analyze geographical data. Geographic data may include things like natural resource maps, planning maps, asset maps or population maps.

GIS is used in all kinds of industries including big business, government and its agencies, retail, utilities management and environment. By using GIS technologies, these industries can make sense of large data sets quickly and easily.

The Cost of GIS Software

GIS software is highly useful but it is also highly expensive. It is estimated that only about 10% of the industries that utilize GIS, use it in a way that is not only efficient, but cost-effective as well.  In order to use top-quality GIS software, these industries might be charged an annual licensing fee ranging from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

As an alternative to paying hefty licensing fees, some companies offer GIS hosting services. More recently, Open Source GIS’s such as Quantum GIS have matured, and now present a real challenge to commercial GIS.

This new level of affordability means that GIS technologies is now more available to more industries in more countries.

Uses for GIS Technologies

GIS technology is now used by the government, business and retail sectors gather and analyze information about their clients. They use GIS for sales, market and demographic analyses among other uses.

GIS technology can be used for more than just market analysis. Its also being used by industries including human resource management, crisis management, and even for social networking applications. GIS can analyze everything from water and air pollution to location tracking. The location tracking feature of GIS systems is particularly useful for social networking applications. It is also valuable in creating road maps such as those being used with the Google Maps application.

GIS has become more prominent in recent years and it has led to a wide variety of now-important services.

One of the most practical uses of GIS technology is for validating address based information. GIS can be used to verify addresses, and to identify locations – it can be used to check delivery addresses to verify their accuracy. And buyers can check the address of a seller to make sure they are not fraudulent suppliers.


These are just a few examples of the many possible applications for GIS technology within modern industries. Every year, GIS mapping technologies become more accurate, more flexible, and more affordable. It has reached the point where we could ask ourselves “can we afford NOT to use GIS mapping technology?”