Geographical Information System is a system which integrates hardware, software and data for storing, managing, analysing and visualizing all forms of spatial data. GIS is an interdisciplinary area that incorporates many distinct fields of study such as:
- Remote sensing
- Town planning
- Geodesy survey
- Topographical projection
- Environment, temperature etc.
In other words, GIS is an information system (hardware, software, data) which enables us to apply lots of analysis models to any geographical datasets for generating derived information that can be visualized as maps.
Datasets: A dataset is a collection of related feature classes that can be represented in a common coordinate system. Datasets are used to facilitate the creation of datasets like topology, terrain dataset network dataset, utility network, etc.
Components of Geographical Information System
The major components of GIS are:
- Procedure/ Methods
- User/ People
All the components are discussed below in detail:
It constitutes equipment and support devices that are used to capture, store, process and visualize the geographic information in the form of maps and documents. Hardware includes a computer with a hard disk, digitizers, scanners, printers, etc.
GIS software is essential to generate, store, analyse, manipulate and display geographic information or data. A good GIS software requires user-friendliness, functionalities, compatibilities, updateability, documentation, cost-effectiveness. Some of the GIS software producers and their main products are:
- Autodesk: AutoCAD Map
- Environmental systems research institute (ESRI): Arc Info, Arc View, Arc GIS
- PCI Geomatics: PA Map
The data is captured or collected from various sources such as maps, field observations, photography, satellite imagery etc. and is processed for analysis and presentation. The spatial data collected is represented in the form of vector and raster data.
This includes various methods and ways used to input, analyse and determine the quality and validity of the final product. The right method is crucial for the successful operation of GIS technology.
This component of GIS includes all the end-users such as programmer, database manager, GIS researcher, students, etc. who use it to perform their everyday GIS work, and also the end-users who are using the GIS services, applications and tools.