Advantages of Geographical Information System (GIS)

Advantage of Geographical Information System

GIS is very advantageous system/tool especially in geographic location based studies and planning. GIS is an integration of many system and methods that make GIS advantageous over the traditional process of geospatial data creation, analysis and display. GIS has several advantages over the other systems such computer aided design and drawing (CADD), automated mapping (AM) etc. 

Below are advantages over other systems

Advantage over Tradition Maps (Printed Maps)

Traditional Maps have to be printed and in relatively large formats. Although maps can be compiled into an Atlas but they are not seamless and one has to compare one page of Atlas with another. All the maps have to be printed at fixed scales. Maps cannot provide all the annotation details in the legend with respect to shading and place names.

Maps always have a scale bar, even though it is still not easy to calculate the lengths of features represented on the map and whereas it is difficult to determine areas of any feature with any higher accuracy.

While maps can be introduced in GIS from any source and register these maps easily in GIS environment for further processes. GIS consistently analyze multiple data layer of maps and it is faster than manual process of analysis.
There are some common issue are related with traditional maps such as
  • Loss of paper
  • Misplacement
  • Miss filling
Whereas GIS store geospatial database of all maps in computer in the form of different layers and can be assessed by users connected through network. There layers can be updated as per need and availability of new source of information.

Advantage over CADD (computer aided design and drawing)

CAD was used to produce maps for a long period and it was an effective alternate for the manual cartographic methods.
  • It is primarily a 2/3-D graphic drawing and design and display systems
  • It does not have reference system through geographic location/reference system
  • In CADD earth/world is visualize as a 3-D cube, whereas in GIS, world/earth is visualize as a 3-D sphere.

CAD files are represented by layers and spatial data displayed graphically. A CAD layer may include all the features such as topography, utility pipe lines, buildings, roads etc. and all the features viewed as graphic symbols.
While GIS feature class include only one type of feature and this simplifies the data management process.

Advantage over Automated mapping (AM)/ Facility management (FM) systems

It is primarily a two-dimensional display devices system is used for utilities mapping. It store attribute data in of utility system in separate data table.
In this unable to relate different geographical layers especially in thematic mapping (e.g. Water quality parameters and cities).

This AM/FM system lacks spatial analysis tools as compare to GIS.
Most important advantage of GIS is that it can create spatial relationship among all the data. This can be defined as Topology; it describes the connectivity of linear feature and bounding properties of areas. Due to this GIS have special data structure system.

Advantage over Data Base Management System (DBMS)

In DBMS, data do not contain explicit location information as compared to GIS. Such as City, state, zip code, etc.  But it does not have spatial data in the form geographical coordinates.

This GIS integrates query and analysis based on database operations with unique feature of visualization and analysis of these using maps. These unique abilities of GIS as compare other information system make it advantageous and valuable system over the other systems.

Advantage over Modeling and Decision Making

Simulation model can be integrated into GIS for planning and decision making and future based scenario assessment. For example runoff modeling to assess sediment discharge, impact of fertilizer discharge through runoff into the river, urban growth modeling and land suitability modeling.

The advantage of integrating GIS with different mathematical and statistical simulation model that it allows consideration of location based factors and constraints. As these locations based factors and constraints affect to surrounding environment and provide real time analysis of future scenario.

Decision making which includes policy making, planning, monitoring and management can integrate human influenced factors and constraints. These factors and constraints can easily incorporate in GIS for better execution of policy and its management by predicting future prospects.

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