Why GIS Matters in the Community

(Ethan Robertson, Unsplash)

New GIS technology has a lot to offer modern communities. Many applications of GIS can help with research and public administration, based on outlining the location of objects or other factors in spatial geography.

Here are some ways that effective GIS helps improve our communities.

Asset Tracking

One of the major use cases of GIS in community mapping is asset tracking. Many businesses and organizations use GIS to tag things like vehicles and equipment, smaller items like signs, or even pieces of public (or private) infrastructure.

Different tracking methodologies help to provide more transparency for all sorts of administrative projects and objectives. Tracking a set of assets shows where everything is in real-time. For example, large items warehoused outside can be tagged to prevent theft and vandalism. This is something that many companies do with large items like riding mowers or snowmobiles. In fleet management, GIS can also optimize traffic patterns and save fuel, which benefits the company and everyone else.

GIS and Environmental Research

GIS for community mapping can also tell people many things about the environment that they live in. For example, weather stations with GIS applied show scattershot data on weather conditions that can be refined into much more sophisticated models.

In other cases, GIS can show the migration of natural species, the development of a particular local area, or any other factors that impact community building. In so many ways, this GIS data can build reports on habitats to show people more about the health of a particular area as a haven for one or more species of plants or animals. GIS is also extensively used in agriculture, as modern farmers attempt to improve how they feed the world. Cartographic and geographic GIS tools fit the bill for this in-depth research, for example, where to institute new practices like no-till farming and allocate cover crops. These community mapping technologies can also help with various stages like planting and fertilizer application.

Feasibility Studies and More

GIS can also be a major tool in many studies, including traffic and feasibility studies. Here, some proposal or project benefits from good data collection that will set the stage for the important decision-making that has to occur.

Many communities hire contractors to form these types of research, and many of those contractors use GIS systems as a primary method.

Again, like with the other kinds of research above, having a broader array of GIS data points gives planners more of a big-picture view of what's happening in a community.

Hire the Civic Engagement Nerd Squad to perform different types of GIS research for your community. We have the resources to do the analysis that supports your planning in a real, comprehensive way. Take a look at our track record in Oregon and beyond and ask us how to get more out of GIS systems for whatever you have planned.

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