More of What GIS Is About

Completing Exercise 1-1 showed how GIS can help you solve one kind of problem. There are many others. Computer-based GIS not only serves the purpose of traditional maps but also helps you perform activities that involve spatial analysis, even without maps. Understanding conditions that occur in the vicinity of Earth’s surface are important in building structures, growing crops, preserving wildlife habitat, protecting ourselves from natural disasters, navigating from one point to the next, and a myriad of other activities.

Among the many uses of GIS are:

Land use—Helps determine land uses, zoning, environmental impact analysis, locational analysis, and site analysis.
Natural environment—Identifies, delineates, and manages areas of environmental concern, analyzes land-carrying capacity, and assists in developing environmental impact statements.
Energy—Examines costs of moving energy, determines remaining available energy reserves, investigates the efficiency of different allocation schemes, reduces waste, reduces heat pollution, identifies areas of danger to humans and animals, assesses environmental impacts, sites new distribution lines and facilities, and develops resource allocation schemes.
Human resources—Plans for mass transit, recreation areas, police unit allocation, and pupil assignment; analyzes migration patterns, population growth, crime patterns, and welfare needs. It also manages public and government services.
Areas of environmental concern—Facilitates ...

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