GIS stands for geographical information system. It deals with the capture, storage, evaluation, manipulation, handling, and presentation of geographical data i.e. information related to different locations located on the surface of the earth. GIS software helps you manage all such data.
In simple terms, GIS connects geography wit data. And continuing with the simplification, we can say that GIS software creates a visual picture out of geographical information through the active use of 3D scenes and maps.
Let us take the example of demographics. A map which shows the different levels of population density in various parts of a certain city (or state or country) will be a kind of geographical information system. And the software that helps capture, store, analyze, handle, and present such data will be GIS software – present the data in a visual format that is.
Population density map is just one example. Maps that represent the spatial distribution of rainfall levels, average temperatures, education levels, and incomes of a certain region (city, state etc.), will all be a type of geographical information system.
Importance and Applications of Geographical Information System (GIS)
Now, the reason why GIS is so important is because it creates a picture of which location has what characteristic. Unless you view information in the context of its geography, you cannot fully comprehend it. Moreover, comparison becomes easier when such data is presented along with its geographical setting.
In a way, GIS provides the big, geographical picture of certain data and data sets. Needless to say, such contextual presentation of data finds application in a whole range of operations, which include:
- Architecture and Construction
- Automobile Integration
- Business and Commerce
- Consumer Behavior and Science
- Climate Change
- Crime Control
- Disaster Management
How GIS Software Helps with Meteorological Data Visualization
Meteorology is the study of processes in the atmosphere with a view to better predict weather phenomenon. By its very nature, meteorological data varies with location. It is these spatial differences that make it necessary to use GIS to study, analyze and present such information.
Those engaged in weather forecasting and research find GIS software an invaluable tool on account of its various potent features:
- Layered visualization enables the comparison of diverse sets of meteorological data.
- Mapping ability of GIS makes it attractive to those studying the atmosphere.
- Position based data and evaluation features provide the capacity to study the intercourse between atmosphere and land surface, which helps with areas such as:
- changes in land use
- topographic examination
- interaction between water resources and urban build up areas
At the root of the answer to the question, ‘how GIS helps with meteorological data visualization’ is the capacity of GIS to display multiple layers of data on the same map. You can view the overlapping zones and derive the appropriate conclusions.
A few related examples will illustrate the point:
- Say for example, authorities in a city located on a river want to identify the areas under their jurisdiction that are most exposed to flood. They will utilize a map made using GIS, which presents multiple layers of data sets.
A three dimensional topographic model of the city will represent the first layer. Flood zones on the bank of the river inside a city are most likely to form the second layer. The city map with the location of houses and offices in the same city will be the third layer while rainfall distribution data will form the fourth set of information.
The regions where the flood zone overlaps with the build up areas represents flood prone areas. And if such an area is located in the zone of high rainfall, it becomes a highly flood prone zone.
- Let us take another example. Say, a city is expecting a cyclone (hurricane). What the city officials and the disaster management guys will most likely do is employ the GIS to make a 3D map of the city with all its physical features such as hills, mountains, plains, rivers; impose a layer of data that represents the built up area in the city; and add another layer of data that provides the expected path of the hurricane.
When complete, such a three layered map will deliver all the necessary information: which areas in the city are most prone to damage by the hurricane, which areas in the city are least likely to be hit by the cyclone, and which routes are best to move between the most and least vulnerable areas in the city.
Authorities can, therefore, evacuate people from the most prone areas and move them to the least prone areas via the safest routes. They can erect emergency shelters in the least vulnerable areas, and also use buildings from this area for housing people.
- GIS can help better visualize rainfall patterns and better predict rainfall. Researchers can add the layer of data that represents the path of moisture laden winds on a map that represents the topography of the region. Rains are most likely along the windward slopes of mountains.
- Climate Change and Global Warming is a hot topic these days. GIS can prove its worth in understanding the numerous facets of this multidimensional problem:
- GIS can map forest carbon by imposing a data set of carbon emissions on a map representing forests. Such an operation can identify deforested areas where action needs to be initiated.
- Similarly, GIS can zero in on specific cities or certain areas within cities that record the most carbon emissions.
- Adding a layer of present and historical temperature data over the physical map of a region helps climate scientists study the changes in temperature over the years and better predict the temperatures likely to prevail in the region.
If the data set of groundwater resources is further imposed on this map, it will point out drought prone areas.
Applications of GIS software in visualizing meteorological data are unlimited simply because GIS allows the placing of one layer of data over another. The resultant patterns speak a thousand giswords.
Author Bio: I’m Saurabh Sharma, currently working as a Media Coordinator with Techjockey. With more than three years of experience in SEO content and the latest optimization practices, I like to write on trending software like pos software, crm software and Gis Software. I am a tech lover, and always look for the latest industry trends to keep the readers updated.