What are the applications of GIS? They’re as wide and varied as your imagination!

One of the best ways to imagine the possibilities is to think of the ways you use internet mapping such as google. Applications can be as simple as viewing a map or querying it for directions to a café. Natural resource investigators might look at google imagery to interpret landform or land use information, or even use pasture coloration as a tool to find old watercourses or water springs.

However, the real power of GIS lies in its ability to analyse datasets based on spatial relationships. Google maps is not well suited to this so mostly these highly customized GIS applications happen in the desktop environment. Here’s some ideas for how you could use GIS. You could relate…

  • a census map to a map of house sales to measure housing affordability
  • an industry map to a watercourse map to assess potential pollution
  • a 3d map of terrain to a soil map to determine the best places to plant fruit trees
  • a census map to a map of diseased people to see if there is a socioeconomic relationship
  • a census map to a public transport map to assess transport disadvantage
  • a map of disease to a map of industry to test for a relationship
  • a map of vegetation type to maps of aspect and elevation to determine habitat areas for rare animals
  • maps of geology, slope, elevation, roads and population centres to determine the ideal areas to site rubbish tips
  • a satellite image captured during flooding to a map of towns to quickly understand the impact of a flood
  • a map of archaeological sites to a map of soil and a map of terrain to model places to search for more relics.

Image source: https://gis.ny.gov/outreach/gist/win06.html