Geographic information system (GIS) technology can be used to gather, maintain, store, and analyze geographic information. It can be used to keep track of everything from property locations and utility lines to traffic patterns, construction sites, and more.
This versatile technology is particularly useful for government because it can help them to make better informed decisions. Governments at all levels all use GIS technology.
GIS for Gathering and analyzing Information
One of the main benefits of GIS technology is that it can make the process of gathering and analyzing data fast and efficient. Instead of time-consuming manual data analysis, GIS can automate the process and solve problems that were previously unsolvable.
For example, GIS technology can be used to show emergency crews the fastest route to an accident or fire. It can also be used to analyze the emergency response plan to improve it for the future.
GIS Applications for Government
Government uses GIS technology to improve data collection, planning and service delivery at all of the different levels of government – local, state, and federal. In different countries, different levels of government have different responsibilities so it is difficult to define this definitively. However, you will find the following uses for GIS in most countries…
Federal government uses for GIS tend to be for things like gathering census data, medical research, management of building assets and for homeland security purposes.
State government uses for GIS tend to be for things like major road planning and management, management of building assets, health administration, and various types of taxation collection.
Local government uses tend to be for things like managing local roads, waste collection, parks management, utilities management (things like power lines and drainage), and town planning.
The common theme is that when processes and management become faster and more efficient, it makes more information and more services more readily available to citizens.
Examples of GIS Technology at Work
To give a specific example of GIS technology at work, consider the example of the county of Sacramento in California. This county regularly uses GIS software to track population growth and development. This information is then used for the planning of housing developments and to evaluate the environmental impact of the population on natural resources.
Another example comes from the city of Los Angeles, also in California, where GIS technology made it possible to create a highly detailed book of city maps in a short period of time. This MapBook provides residents and city officials with detailed information about individual neighborhoods including precise locations of streets and alleys. This information can also be used by tourists and out-of-town business professionals to help them navigate their way through the city.
GIS technology makes the process of gathering and analyzing geographic data fast and easy. Rather than having dozens of employees spend hundreds of hours analyzing information by hand, GIS technology can perform the same tasks in a fraction of the time.
Governments at all levels can use GIS technology to quickly and accurately compile and analyze information. This information can then be used to plan and manage projects which directly benefit citizens like you.