What can GIS (Geographic Information System) do for your business?

Over the past 10 plus years, I have been blessed to learn a skill that has a multitude of uses from oil and gas exploration (where I first learned and used GIS) to archaeology  and environmental (my current GIS consulting area).  But GIS has a wide range of uses that can be used cross-platform and cross-industries.  Take, for example, health care and business.  Walgreens is a heavy GIS user that has integrated the use and practice of GIS to be able to predict within a day or two where influenza outbreaks are occurring.  The CDC is usually a week or more in detecting the outbreaks and occurrences of influenza.

Why Walgreens uses interactive maps plus analytics to evaluate store locations

 

Also another great article:   WalMap: The App By Walgreens That Maps Out Community Trends in Real Time

Bike share mapping creates beautiful portraits of London, NYC and Berlin (this is very cool)

Bike sharing isn’t very popular around the Northwest Florida area but it is in larger cities across the globe.  There is a very neat project that shows the real-time bike sharing use across major cities in North America and Europe.  Now, I love riding my bike but for me to be able to get to the office from my home would mean that I would leave the house at 3 in the morning.  But, if I were located in a larger city with an adequate cycling lanes, I would probably be one who commutes by bike.

Follow the link in the quote and see how this project started and what the visuals reveal about the programs.

Thanks to http://metrocosm.com/ for the post on facebook about the article.

Bike sharing programmes have grown from just 24 cities worldwide a decade ago to more than 800 cities today, but how has a 200-year-old device suddenly become the next big thing in urban transport? The key is digital information, the real-time GPS technology that allows the bikes to be tracked and secured, and lets cities monitor how and where they are being used.

What is GIS?

GIS is more than just creating a map and it is more than just data.  GIS is used in many industries and fields of work.  I started out learning GIS and using it when I worked in the oil and gas industry.  I used it with clients to track their assets and oil and gas leases.  I am currently applying GIS in archaeology and history.  There is a myriad of ways to use GIS but just what is GIS.  Follow the link in the below paragraph to peek your curiosity and learn more about this relatively young technology and its application.

 

This is probably the most asked question posed to those in the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) field and is probably the hardest to answer in a succinct and clear manner. GIS is a technological field that incorporates geographical features with tabular data in order to map, analyze, and assess real-world problems.  The key word to this technology is Geography – this means that some portion of the data is spatial.  In other words, data that is in some way referenced to locations on the earth. Coupled with this data is usually tabular data known as attribute data.  Attribute data can be generally defined as additional information about each of the spatial features.  An example of this would be schools. The actual location of the schools is the spatial data.  Additional data such as the school name, level of education taught, student capacity would make up the attribute data.  It is the partnership of these two data types that enables GIS to be such an effective problem solving tool through spatial analysis.

GIS operates on many levels.  On the most basic level, geographic information systems technology is used as computer cartography, that is for straight forward mapping. The real power of GIS is through using spatial and statistical methods to analyze attribute and geographic information.  The end result of the analysis can be derivative information, interpolated information or prioritized information.

Pure Michigan redo (Retro Style)

Trying to learn more about cartography and utilizing Illustrator for final touches has been very educational (really).  Last week’s map was a first version and I wanted to improve it because I knew that I had created a decent map but it was too busy with labels.  After I took my professor’s advice and made some minor changes (using ArcGis), I then exported the map as a .AI file for use in Illustrator.  Making changes in Illustrator allowed me to pump up the effects that I wanted to create but could not in ArcGIS.  It was frustrating at first but I finally was able to achieve the look and feel that I was looking for that I couldn’t do on the 1st map.  Allowing my brain to grasp the program as well as being very patient in manipulating the desired labels and symbols.   The rustic look was obtained and it felt as if I had moved a mountain.  The same mountain that is set in ArcGIS that makes the final rendering of a map so hard to be satisfied with.

The flexibility of exporting from ArcGIS and making changes in Illustrator really gives you a more “readable” map.  Glad I pushed through the program and made headway.  I have added both maps, version one and version two for you to see the difference between the two.  If you get to a point of frustration, hold on and push through, it isn’t the easy things that allow us to learn and grow, it is the hard and difficult things that stretch our mind and allow us to learn.  So, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Here is a link to the pdf versions:

Lab5_TonyCross       Lab6_TonyCross2