We, geographers, have a humanistic touch to explaining interactions between humans and environment in space and time. We are also able to exclude themselves from the phenomena to see interactions “outside the box”. The multi-scientific point of view enables us to see further. One of the many methods we can use to explain the outside world is to use different geographic information systems (GIS), where we study data that has a geospatial reference (e.g., coordinates and addresses). With the help of GIS, it is possible to see relationships and patterns from the data in a form that is informative and gives us more tools for decision-making.
There are a few important things you need to know about GIS data: most of our digital data includes geospatial references that enables us to transform it into information (interpreted data) (MacEachren & Kraak: 2013). Databases include data about the spatial locations and shapes of geographic features recorded as points, lines, areas, pixels etc. (ESRI: 2018).
“With the help of GIS it is possible to see relationships and patterns from the data in a form that is informative and gives us more tools for decision-making”
To calculate and analyze studied data it is necessary to use statistical methods. The reason for this is that spatial phenomena are often clustered because they usually tend to possess order and structure in space and time in different dimensions (e.g., in three-dimensional space, time). For example; for measuring, managing and protecting conserved areas for increasing tourism, we need to study traffic, roads, target groups, culture, ecosystems of the conserved area etc.
To present the information we have analyzed, map visualization has the key role because maps play a huge role in users’ thinking process. Visualizing phenomena trough maps has the power to provide an insight into their complexity and the processes happening within them. In the past, paper maps were designed to present simple information of geographic space. Now the map in its new dynamic way can be a tool that can support productive information and knowledge while it retains its traditional role as a presentation tool. (MacEachren & Kraak: 2013).
“The full potential of geographers and geographic information systems are not fully used because GIS and its complex structure is hard to explain for those who would really need it”
As you have read, the cartographic information system is a complex and versatile tool and people spend years studying it at university (including me). The full potential of geographers and geographic information systems are not fully used because GIS and its complex structure are hard to explain for those who would really need it. Geography and map visualization has the potential to provide information on e.g. natural and social phenomena and processes involved. It is possible to use this information in the business world. I believe that there is a need for this kind of knowledge. It is essential that business leaders took the time to familiarize themselves with the main principals of GIS and consulted with the GIS professionals to find profitable solutions for their needs.
Alan M. MacEachren & Menno-Jan Kraak. 2013. Research Challenges in Geovisualization. Journal: Cartography and Geographic Information Science. Vol. 28., No. I., pp.3-12
Last modified: July 2, 2018