Data collection is easier today than it once was due to technological advancements, especially with the development of technologies like Geographic Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
Companies can now focus on how to best use the magnitude of information available to them, an aspect of business facilitated by using a GIS.
Since there is considerable confusion surrounding GIS and GPS, this article will provide clarification by defining differences between the two, before explaining where they are most commonly used.
Table of Contents
What is GPS?
A Global Positioning System is a collection of at least 24 satellites which serves as a global navigation system.
It is renowned for offering location information for anywhere in the world, making GPS especially useful for traveling and mapping.
What is unique about GPS is it can pinpoint exact locations on the earth’s surface. It is used for preparing maps, navigation, and tracking.
What are the Key Uses of GPS?
As previously mentioned, GPS is firmly rooted in location tracking, where it is possible to determine any given position on the earth’s surface. Users can quickly get from A to B using a Satnav, which harnesses GPS technology.
Tracking applications are particularly useful too, where invested parties can easily monitor the movement of both objects and people.
Mapping has benefited significantly from GPS since maps of anywhere in the world can be created from the spatial information gathered from satellites.
Finally, GPS permits precise time measurements, utilizing accurate data accordingly.
How is GPS Applied?
GPS has multiple industry applications, which include but aren’t limited to the following:
- Entertainment: GPS is increasingly involved in gaming, where GPS forms the foundation of various operations. For example, Pokemon Go, a recently favorite digital game played using a phone’s GPS, takes advantage of real, location information.
- Construction: Companies can increase return on assets by utilizing the information collected from GPS tracking. Workers can do anything from locating equipment to determining where assets would be best allocated.
- Emergency Response: GPS can be used for mapping in the event of an emergency. This significantly reduces response time, alongside predicting weather and travel information for first responders. It can also be used to track the location of personnel.
What is GIS?
A Geographical Information System is often misconstrued as being the same as a GPS. Though it operates in the same stratosphere, a GIS is designed to analyze and interpret data collected through GPS and other devices.
GIS can make information readily available for use, where data is formulated to show patterns of people and objects.
This has groundbreaking industry applications, where the likelihood of future outcomes can be predicted from spatial information.
Using GIS, it is possible to predict the outbreak of disease, the movement of people from one location to the next, traffic patterns, potential landslides, and more.
Essentially, GIS can extract information from GPS so it can be utilized to maximum effect, unlocking the real potential of the data available.
What Are the Key Uses of GIS?
GIS is mostly used for data mapping, where it can accurately offer a visual representation of data from a GPS or other device.
Spatial information is often indecipherable, but a GIS can make sense of data for practical use.
GIS can also indicate the relationship between two locations, including the proximity of two spots on a map.
GIS technology is often used in the conversion of digitally scanned paper maps to help cities, utilities and private organizations manage their assets via desktop and mobile devices.
The technology can channel information from similar sources to determine whether a location is perfect for the development of a new facility. It can calibrate this relative to the success of similar sites in the area.
What Industries Use GIS?
With a wide array of applications, here are four industries that effectively capitalize on GIS:
- Technology: If you’ve ever used Google Maps, you are a living, breathing example of how GIS is used for everyday functions. Technology and utility companies use GIS to create graphic representations of land and infrastructure, with unlimited possibilities.
- Advertising: Marketing can be targeted to specific demographics within a particular region. Specialists can use the information to determine where consumers are most likely to buy given products.
- Government: Uses aren’t strictly limited to cartography and surveying, but to gather and interpret crucial data.
- Medical: Professionals can effectively map out areas susceptible to the outbreak regarding while planning effective responses to crises. Groundbreaking correlations can be identified to understand how to tackle specific health issues.
In a technological world, GPS and GIS are critical components of everyday life. Though capabilities of the technologies are often overlooked, they should never be underestimated concerning practical impact.
The way GPS and GIS interact is critical for advanced business functions, which ultimately determine the success of a given outcome.
Having read this article, hopefully, you have gained a better understanding of GPS and GIS, particularly regarding differences between the two. If you have any questions or would like to become part of the conversation, please comment below and kick-start the discussion.