Have you ever looked at a weather radar map or used Google Maps to get to a location? Or have you tracked a package or searched real estate listings? If so, you were using a GIS-based application! Surprisingly, most individuals interact with GIS on a daily basis.
GIS, or geographic information systems, consist of integrated computer hardware and software that store, manage, analyze, edit, output, and visualize geographic data. Weather radars simply digitize atmospheric data during certain periods and then display on a map, showing aerials, topography, and other base map imagery. Google Maps uses GIS to calculate the best route to take, depending on the type of transportation, simplifying how we get from one place to another.
GIS technology can also be used when help is needed in an emergency. Sometimes street addresses aren’t accurate enough for places like parks, rural areas, or building entrances. A technology called what3words was created for these exact moments. This application divided the world into 3-meter squares and gave each square a unique combination of three words separated by periods. For example, here are the what3words locations for each of our office locations:
• Evansville: dimes.bashed.discerning
• Fort Wayne: latter.impeccably.carting
• Indianapolis: paces.troubled.concentrate
• Jeffersonville: hang.cycle.marble
• Mishawaka: desire.medium.figure
• South Bend: slower.number.issues
• Troy: years.librarian.gravel
• Belleville: hike.sculpture.curiosity
• Champaign: larger.stuck.enjoyable
• Springfield: sleepy.having.shorts
• St. Charles: total.stow.lung
• St. Louis: frock.yard.trade
• Louisville: flamingo.enforced.gravity
With the help of GIS, we can understand the challenges that we and our clients face and make our world a better place to live for years to come!