What’s New with GIS Technology?
GIS is moving into an expanded role that builds on the aggregative properties of big data applications. The current iteration of GIS apps can produce highly organized data for BIM systems, surveyors, and engineers. The overlap between 3D and AI technologies is ushering in a new era of data integration. Now, there is a growing demand for accurate and detailed data that can be gathered using GIS tools.
For example, retail business owners can cross-reference demographic information gathered from other applications with the in-store traffic at a particular location. Architects can generate more precise topographical assessments of proposed sites based on the findings of GIS analysis. These new demands also present new opportunities for GIS mapping and surveying professionals to provide valuable services for residential, commercial, and public projects.
How GIS Technology Is Evolving
GIS Education Focuses More on Data
Academic programs have been revised in recent years to include the business aspects of engineering analytics. The goal is to train those entering in data collection and interpretation. Industry experts say that this holistic type of education mirrors the approach that NASA took in the 1960s during its huge leap forward in military aerospace programs.
GIS Technology Is Being Applied to Diverse Industries
Today, GIS systems are being used in applications that range from agriculture to military defense, and from urban planning to disaster recovery. GIS is a flexible tool that can be utilized in a diverse array of industries and scale to work with the amount of data available.
Industries Are Responding to Complex Demands
Geospatial data companies are reassessing client requests and responding with innovative solutions. Client demands are shifting from reports on hard, raw data into requests for complex, interpolated data applications. An entirely new generation of GIS tools equips surveying and engineering companies with the ability to apply big data to specific industries more quickly than ever before.
Software is Advancing Ahead of Business
GIS, BIM and CAD systems are evolving to compute big data input and extrapolate complex output. As companies in the retail, manufacturing, and construction industries catch up with the technology, software developers are competing to put the best aggregation and application capabilities on the market first.
Systems Are Providing Real-Time Data
GIS is now able to deliver collect data and analyze it in real-time. Immediate geospatial data speeds up the time required for research and mapping projects. For example, platforms like Uber use GIS technology to show customers exactly where their drivers are currently located and show their movements. Chain franchises, like Starbucks, are employing it to crunch population and traffic data and determine the best site for their next store opening. GIS capabilities help establish safe travel routes for emergency vehicles and recover victims following natural disasters.
In the future, we expect to see access to relevant, timely data contribute to the development of accurate maps and real-time applications.
Information Is Becoming More Accessible to Consumers
GIS technology is making data readily accessible through consumer-facing applications. In the recent news, immunologists have been using GIS dashboards to track the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We also see this recent development in the form of apps that show homebuyers which houses are available in their area in realtime. Integrated map layers provide valuable decision-making information about amenities, school districts, and relative locations. Even wearable devices are implementing integrated GIS technology to record consumers’ activity and health data directly. Synched apps then interpret the data and provide personalized fitness programs directly to the individual.
Data Can Be Used to Plan for the Future
By utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence, advanced GIS systems are able to simulate complex and overlapping events. This provides valuable information that companies and governments can use to plan and prepare for the future.
For example, urban planners can study how proposed roadway designs could affect local traffic patterns and pollution levels, as the population of the city increases. AI enables the system to recognize patterns in traffic and conditions, predict fluctuations, and decrease the number of potential delays and jams as a result.
Related article: Find out how Land Surveying and GIS Technology Work Together.
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This article has been updated since its original publication on June 21, 2017.