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GIS in Your Everyday Life and How it Benefits You

by Kevin G. on July 21, 2014

I opened today’s newspaper and was immediately drawn to the graphics that told the story. Last evening, I watched the news and learned more about the search for a missing airplane through the usage of maps and graphics. Then, I recalled how my 10-year-old son asked me if it was possible to make 2 cuts in a donut and end up with 5 pieces. I said no, and he quickly sketched out the picture and proved it can be done (actual image below).
As we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, if a picture is worth a 1,000 words, perhaps a GIS is worth a million words.  So we are all on the same page, what does GIS do for us? “A geographic information system (GIS) lets us visualize, question, analyze, interpret, and understand data to reveal relationships, patterns, and trends.”
Here are some examples of the ways GIS is used in your everyday life.  When you are dying for that overly expensive cup of coffee, what do you do? You go straight to your smartphone and search for it, view the map of its location, then select the option to provide you directions from your current location. That’s GIS.
How about when you take that selfie to upload to social media? Now the whole world sees your selfie and social media is able to show your exact location where you took the picture. Once again, GIS.
Hopefully, you aren’t faced with any emergencies or natural disasters; however, if you are, the help that comes relies heavily on GIS.
Even if you try to avoid GIS, you can’t. Did you ever notice that the magazines in your mailbox always seem to have exactly what you are looking for and when you are looking for it? This is no coincidence. Organizations are using GIS data to learn the what, when, where, and whys of their customers based upon data they receive including your location, and they market accordingly. Yep, once again, GIS.
Hopefully, I’ve been able to provide you a better understanding of how GIS is already in use in your everyday life. Now, how can you make GIS work for you? This blog could go on for days with all the possibilities; so how about a few simple questions to help you find ways to benefit from GIS within your organization.
  • Do you have any assets that need to be managed? (bridges, roads, parcels, addresses, buildings, culverts, permits, parks) 
  • Do you need to perform an analysis on any areas? (voter precincts, school districts, townships, town and city limits, zoning) 
  • Do you need an efficient way to provide customers or the public with information pertaining to your organization? 
  • Do you need an efficient way to analyze your data, and do you need to quickly change the variables to help you analyze that data? 
These are just a few of the questions that if you answered “yes” to, you can greatly benefit from GIS.  If you need assistance or direction with your GIS, give us a call. We have helped hundreds of customers, but we have also have consulted with thousands of organizations on how to benefit from a GIS; and trust me, no question is silly. My personal favorite and perhaps the most common question we get: “I have all this stuff that I need to keep track of, can GIS help?”
So remember, GIS is all around you, whether you want it to be or not. Embrace this wonderful tool that we have at our disposal, and look for even more opportunities to benefit from GIS.