To get the most out of a Geographic Information System, it is best to learn GIS from scratch. It will help you decide to buy and use a GIS software system as well as to guide others to do the same at your workplace. Basically, this knowledge will help you use maps and make use of the immense power of the GIS technology.
In order to learn the workings and mechanisms involved in GIS, it is important to realize that GIS relies on maps and data related to maps. Of course, a basic level of Geography study is a must to go forward. This being the computer software age, the use of GIS systems relies heavily on computers. So, a working knowledge of using software will start on you on a path to learn use the GIS software and databases easily.
Basic Geography Background to Learn GIS
As mentioned earlier, some basic geography background will be needed to learn the representations of the real world in maps and the mapping terminology. This will help you to get started with GIS systems that include map reading, symbolism, projections, scale issues and datums – starting points for measurement. Once you get this map data into your computer, it will enable you to make efficient use of that information contained in relevant maps.
From Paper into a Computer
The data from paper maps needs to go a computer so that you may start using this GIS data to get solutions and answers. The basic models for digital map representation make use of grids or raster, points, lines and polygons called vector. The information from these different models are needed to keep track of any geographic features included in your GIS and are then linked to a descriptive information for a meaningful output.
Getting GIS to Locate and Characterize Features
After having worked on your data input, you can get GIS to provide you information about the geographic features added to the database. There are different ways to search and count such features. You are then able to describe them by locating and characterizing them based on their type, category, shape and size or by other measurements. It is also possible to locate them in relation to each other in a given geographic space.
Geographic Patterns and their Analysis
Next steps include the analysis of the geographic patterns that you have been working on with the help of your GIS. Once they are identified correctly, you may start measuring areas by including factors like lengths, distances and volumes. Geographic areas that you work on can include networks like streets and highways as well as rivers – to predict where water may blood in case of a flood. By learning about topographic and non-topographic surfaces, it is possible to combine maps and analyze the same using a language called map algebra.
GIS Queries and Output
Finally, you can generate various types of map output and other information by making use of your GIS queries from the software and analyze them. You will be able to explain the results of your work that can relate to a large variety of projects. GIS can generate extremely useful applications for businesses as well for general population. Some examples of its use include making customer lists for businesses and travel directions for general public. If you work for an organization, GIS will prove to be most powerful tool for its operations.