GIS is an important tool for natural resource management. It can be used to gather, maintain, analyze and store geographic data at a variety of scales.

Growing and wealthier populations place increasing pressures on natural resources, making it important that they are managed appropriately. GIS is an important tool for natural resource managers to make their decisions.

GIS Mapping for Natural Resources

Natural Resource Management: A GIS floodzone map showing areas of Illinois that would be inundated in a in year flood.
A GIS floodzone map showing areas of Illinois that would be inundated in a in year flood.

GIS has become an important tool for professionals such as botanists, biologists, hydrologists, ecologists, farmers, miners, petroleum engineers, and environmental regulators. More and more GIS, is used to provide data for critical decision making.

GIS Mapping For Park Management?

GIS technology can be used to gather and analyze information about wildlife populations, timber growth in forests, changes in water supply, and more.

Park managers use GIS technology to monitor visitor impact on the environment. For example, it can document park assets such as seating, paths, etc. And community maps from apps such as Strava can be used to help understand visitor usage patterns.

GIS Technology and Pollution

Another important use for GIS technology relates to identifying pollution sources. For example, the county of Sacramento in California uses GIS technology to identify land parcels with uses that have been known to contribute to pollution.

The county then uses that information to plot potential scenarios which might help to reduce those pollution sources. GIS technology can also be used to track the impact of different types of pollution on plant growth and wildlife populations for the purpose of mitigating those negative impacts for the future.

In Australia, GIS is used to model the compliance of septic systems with local codes of practice. Environmental health planners then use this information to ensure poorly performing septic systems are upgraded as appropriate (Allan et al, 2008).


There are many ways GIS technology is used for natural resource management. It can be used to monitor endangered species and their habitats, to identify potential sources of pollution, and to monitor the impact of human influence on various natural resources.

GIS technology can be used to undertake complex geographical modelling and analyses, for geographical reporting, or in ways as simple as looking at a map on a computer screen.


Allan I, Andrews G, van De Graaff R, Domestic Wastewater Management Planning In Victoria: Where Can I Build My Dream Home? (Keynote), Oct 2008, Onsite and Decentralised Sewerage and Recycling Conference, Benalla, Australian Water Association