Geographic information system has become a very reliable tool as far as analyzing a targeted location. Data can be collected and details of the geographical area unveiled to serve the purpose of the GIS project that is at hand. Various fields and sectors rely on the data and research findings to make important decisions. The system is made up of a number of components that work together to make projects successful.
Data – Data can be said to be the core of GIS and two data types are usually used. They are raster and vector data. Geodatabase is usually referenced to earth locations and grouped into raster and vector groups. Vector data is data that is represented as lines, polygons and points while raster is data that is cell based such as that of aerial imagery and digital elevation. There is also attribute data in GIS which is additional information for each spatial feature that is housed in a tabular format. Metadata is the documentation of datasets in GIS and has information like when the creation of data occurred, coordinate system, last update of the data and the creator of the data. Metadata in GIS can also include details like definition of attribute data code and contacts of the data creator.
Software – In GIS there are different software types that are used, but GIS application package remains central to the creation of data, analyzing and editing as well as attributing the collected data. The GIS packages come with geospatial functions that are very helpful to the process. Extensions extend the GIS software capabilities, whereas component GIS software builds applications for specific purposes. There are also utilities, which are programs designed to perform specific functions and web GIS software which helps in serving data using internet browsers through interactive maps.
Hardware – GIS hardware has equipment that helps in supporting the many activities that are important for geospatial analysis. The activities range from data collection to the analysis of the data. A workstation makes the central equipment piece and it runs GIS software. It serves as attachment point for other ancillary equipment. Hard copy data is converted with the help of a digitizer to digital data. Web servers also make part of the hardware for web mapping purposes common in GIS and so is handheld field technology that makes data collection easy.
People – The other component of GIS is people. It has professionals who are well-trained and knowledgeable and skilled in using GIS software and in spatial analysis. The people component of GIS revolves around career path, networking and education. Quality education is very important in GIS and this means taking the best class combinations and finally selecting the best type of GIS job. It is important for individuals to take the necessary programming classes, even though they could be highly skilled in GIS analysis so he can secure a job as GIS developer. Still under the people component, networking with other GIS professionals on a continuous basis is very important as far as the exchange of ideas and community support is concerned.
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