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Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

The Mobile District's Spatial Data Branch provides a range of GIS services including, but not limited to, mapping and surveying, data conversion, Internet mapping, database maintenance, software customization and integration, training, implementation, and other GIS services as required. Deliverables have included Fort Buchanan Facilities GIS, Italian Coastal GIS, Panama Canal Zone Facilities and Land Use GIS, Regional Sediment Management Demonstration program, and web-based mapping of Black-Warrior Tombigbee River Navigation GIS.

What is GIS?

A geographic information system (GIS) uses computers and software to leverage the fundamental principle of geography—that location is important in people’s lives. GIS helps a retail business locate the best site for its next store and helps agencies track environmental degradation. It helps route delivery trucks and manage road paving. It helps marketers find new prospects, and it helps farmers increase production and manage their land more efficiently.

GIS takes the numbers and words from the rows and columns in databases and spreadsheets and puts them on a map. Placing your data on a map highlights where you have many customers if you own a store, or multiple leaks in your water system if you run a water company. It allows you to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize your data in ways simply not possible in the rows and columns.

With data on a map, you can ask more questions. You can ask where, why, and how, all with the location information on hand. You can make better decisions with the knowledge that geography and spatial analysis bring to the table.

GIS and Spatial Analysis

Geographic information systems (GIS) and the underlying geographic information science that advances these technologies have a strong influence on spatial analysis. The increasing ability to capture and handle geo-spatial data means that spatial analysis is occurring within increasingly data-rich environments. Geo-spatial data capture systems include remotely sensed imagery, environmental monitoring systems such as intelligent transportation systems, and location-aware technologies: mobile devices that can report location in near-real time. GIS provides platforms for managing this data, computing spatial relationships such as distance, connectivity and directional relationships between spatial units, and visualizing both the raw data and spatial analytic results within a cartographic context.