The Geographic Information System more commonly referred to as GIS is amongst one of the several methods used by environmental managers to assist them in making more informed decisions about the environment. However, the usage of this technology is not limited to environmental managers. Other users of this technology include; private sector, public sector, on field analysts, web users, and international organizations. The flexibility of this technology and wide usage has been the major contributors towards the success of GIS.
The Geographic Information System allows the analysis of several factors regarding the environment in a single format (ESRI). This has largely been made possible by the ease of mapping the factors on a single map which is visible to the users of this technology. As mentioned earlier, the users of GIS are not limited to environmental managers; therefore, the information generated via the GIS is adapted according to the users understanding level. The software is capable of determining the impact on the environment of a particular location if the user enters the factors being affected and location. The applicability of the GIS is further emphasized upon because it does not restrict itself to one factor rather it takes into account several variables which include; soil stability, pesticide use, migration corridors, and hazardous dust generators along with many others. The impact of several factors is incorporated by the use of the ArcGIS technology as it combines all these factors and provides the aggregate impact upon the environment of a particular location.
Business partners and ESRI software developers have come together to provide greater information and help maximize the benefits received from the implementation of the GIS technology. The integration of databases along with sharing these over several sources the decision making process of GIS users is made more effective. Furthermore, the ESRI has allowed for better flow of information across users. As the data is available to several users, businesses may work together in collecting information; hence, increasing the benefits gained from the implementation of the GIS technology. During the entire data collection process quality is given great concern and there are specific standards which need to be met before information is relayed over to users.
There are several features and products that come along with the GIS technology. The GIS desktop facility has provided ease in viewing and printing ESRI maps. The ArcView facility allows users to comprehend extensive information and map this varied information on a single map to provide the ease during analysis. The information can also be edited or added to existing data if the ArcEditor and ArcInfo options are availed by the user. Several other features are made available by the GIS server which includes; ArcSDE, ArcIMS, and ArcGIS. The ArcSDE option deals with the storage and management of the data into a specific database system. The ArcIMS publisehes maps on the internet for web users. The ArcGIS limits itself to professional users of the GIS technology (Maptitude).
The GIS is able to provide useful information because it helps combine the functions of computer hardware and software, which allows professionals to combine a wide range of data into a single format. As the data may be stored on a single map it has provided users to access this information with ease and further allows them to understand this information. New opportunities may also be explored from the existing data if the perspective of the data is switched to an alternating perspective. The GIS technology also helps minimize the negative impact of people’s decision upon the environment. Real world problems are not small-scale; therefore, the application of GIS on a larger scale and dependent upon the user’s requirements allows for much more informed decisions (GPS Systems).
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