How to Do GIS Mapping

Most GIS students have been struggling with how to do GIS mapping efficiently for a while now. Although a few of them have resulted in seeking GIS homework help, a number still cannot understand how to do GIS mapping even with the GIS homework help. As a result, most of the students have been failing in such modules and concepts. The concept of how to do GIS mapping is straightforward if one has an accurate and comprehensive guide. Here is one of the most thoroughly researched and simple guides on how to do GIS mapping.

Learning how to do GIS mapping is one of the tricky concepts for most GIS students. Therefore, most of them tend to search for ideal GIS homework help on how to do GIS mapping.

What is GIS?

Even before looking at how to do GIS mapping, it is crucial first to define this term. A geographic information system (GIS) refers to a program or software that is used to capture, store, check, and display data that relates to various positions on the surface of the earth. A lot of data can be displayed on a single map by the GIS. Such data can comprise of the buildings, the streets, and the vegetation.

Differentiating between GIS and Spatial Analysis

How to Do GIS MappingIn addition to seeking GIS homework help on how to do GIS mapping, most GIS students also seek online advice on how to differentiate between GIS and spatial analysis. Spatial analysis tends to confuse most people, just like how to do GIS mapping. As stated earlier, GIS is a computer that allows a user to capture, store check, and display data relating to various positions on the earth’s surface. Spatial analysis, on the other hand, refers to the evaluation focusing on the statistical analysis of different underlying patterns and processes.

It tends to answer the question ‘what could be the genesis of this observed spatial pattern?’ Spatial analysis is, therefore, an exploratory process that quantifies the observed pattern and then tries to explore the methods that are believed to have generated that specific pattern. The geographic information systems use spatial analysis to bring more insight into various geographical questions. Understanding the differences makes it easier for one to comprehend how to do GIS mapping.

Components of GIS

Before looking at how to do GIS mapping, the first step a student should take is understanding the elements that are required to make a GIS successful. These components include:

  1. Hardware-This refers to the computer device that the GIS operates on. Currently, the geographic information system tends to run on multiple types of hardware. These include desktop computers, centralized computers, among others.
  2. Software-The software entails the tools and functions required to store, evaluate, and display the captured geographic information.
  3. Data-This is probably the most significant component of the GIS. The geographic and tabular data can be gathered in-house, altered according to custom requirements and specifications, or bought from a data provider.
  4. People-Without people, the GIS technology would be of minimal to no value. It is because the people help in developing and implementing the changes and data to the existing real-world problems. The geographic information system users include a lot of people from various fields. For example, it entails technical specialists who design and ensure that the system is well maintained.
  5. Methods-This component of the GIS encompasses the various unique rules, models, and implementation plans that organizations use to operate their GIS successfully. It is a concept one must learn before learning how to do GIS mapping.

The Subsystems of the Geographic Information System

Another significant concept to understand before learning how to do GIS mapping is the subsystems of the GIS. They will come in handy when one is now practically being taught how to do GIS mapping. Since most students do not pay attention to these subsystems, they tend to seek GIS homework help when they are tested in this sector. If you want to ace how to do GIS mapping, then take note of the following GIS subsystems;

  1. Data input-This is the subsystem that enables an individual to capture, collect, and also transform the thematic and spatial data into a digital form. This subsystem is acquired by combining aerial photographs, a couple of hard copy maps, reports, survey documents, remotely sensed images and many more.
  2. Data storage and retrieval-This GIS subsystem organize the attribute and spatial data in a manner that enables the user to retrieve the information for evaluation quickly. It also allows the user to update the database promptly. This subsystem requires the use of a database management system (DBMS) for one to maintain the attribute data. The spatial data is encoded and then maintained in a file format.
  3. Data manipulation and analysis-This GIS subsystem grants the user an opportunity to not only define but also execute attribute and spatial procedures, to acquire information that is derived. The data manipulation and analysis subsystem is regarded as the heart of the GIS.
  4. Data output-The data output is another subsystem of the geographic information system that allows an individual to generate maps, graphic displays, and tabulated reports that represent the derived information outcome.

GIS Data Types

Learning how to do GIS mapping also requires one to understand the various GIS data types. The geographic information system uses two types of data. These are:

  1. Spatial data-This kind of data tends to explain the relative and absolute location of several geographic features thoroughly.
  2. Attribute data-This type of data discusses the distinct characteristics of the spatial features. These aspects can either be qualitative or quantitative. In most cases, this type of data is known as tabular data.

GIS Data Models

When one is learning the concept of how to do GIS mapping, they are also required to understand the models they need to use. Therefore, it is essential to understand the existing GIS data models. Only one model can be chosen at a time. The GIS data models refer to the constructs or the set of rules that are used to explain and represent the geographic aspects of the real world in the computer. The data models for the geographic information system include:

Raster Data Models

This data model is widely used not only in the geographic information systems but also in other applications. It is, for instance, used in digital photography. These data models embody the usage of a grid-cell structure. In this structure, geographic information is split into cells that are identified by columns and rows. Such a data structure is what is referred to as a raster. Although this term refers to a more regularly spaced grid, other data structures that are tessellated also exist in the GIS grid-based systems.

For one to encode raster data from nothing or from scratch, one can use several techniques. These models or methods include:

  1. Cell-by-cell raster encoding-This technique encodes a raster merely through the creation of records for each cell value and by column and row.
  2. Run-length raster encoding-Using this technique, cell values are encoded in runs containing similarly valued pixels, an aspect that can bring about a highly compressed picture file.
  3. Quad-tree raster encoding-This technique entails the division of a raster into a hierarchy of quadrants, which are then split based on the similarly valued pixels,

There are various advantages of using the raster data model. These include;

  1. There is ample access to the technology needed to create the raster graphics since it is inexpensive and pervasive.
  2. The data structure of the raster graphics is very straightforward, making it a great model to use due to the absence of complexities.
  3. The relative simplicity of the raster graphics makes performing of the overlay analyses also very easy.

There are also disadvantages of using the raster data model. They entail;

  1. The presence of huge raster files. It results in added pressure in keeping up with the quality and quantity of the computer resources required to support these large files.
  2. When the output images recovered using the raster model are compared to their vector counterparts, those of this model tend to be less appealing or pretty. The less attractive aspect is noticed, particularly when one zooms or enlarges the image.

Vector Data Models

The vector data models utilize the vectors, which are directional lines to represent a specific geographic feature. The vector data is therefore characterized by the use of several vertices or sequential points in the definition of a linear segment. Thus, each vertex comprises a Y and X coordinate. The vector lines are popularly known as arcs, which consist of a series of vertices that are terminated by a node. A node can be explained to be a vertex starting or ending an arc segment.

The vector data models are preferred for various reasons. These benefits include;

  1. Most data, for example, the hard copy maps, are present in vector form. Therefore, no data conversion is needed.
  2. The vector data model enables efficient encoding of topology. Due to this, there tend to be more practical operations requiring topological information such as network analysis and proximity.
  3. Unlike the raster data model, the vector data models tend to be more realistic representations of the real world due to their precision of lines, points, and polygons.

However, these vector data modes also have a few setbacks. The disadvantages of these models include;

  1. When comparing it to the relatively simple raster data model, the vector model tends to be very complicated. This model has no shortcuts when it comes to storing data, making it very complicated to use.
  2. The algorithms required for the analysis and manipulative functions are very complicated and can be intensive. As a result, the complexity tends to significantly limit the functionality of massive data sets, such as a large number of geographic features.
  3. It is impossible to conduct a spatial evaluation and filtering within the polygons using these data models.
  4. It is hard to represent continuous data like the elevation data in vector form. In most cases, interpolation or the generalization of substantial data is needed for these layers of data.

Attribute Data Models

Besides how to do mapping, most individuals also seek GIS homework help on identifying the various attribute data models. The attribute data models are located within the GIS software in an external database management software. The most known attribute data models include;

  1. Tabular model-This model stores attribute data in sequential data files that have fixed formats. The tabular model is obsolete in the GIS area of interest due to various reasons. One is because there is no manner of checking data integrity.
  2. The hierarchical model-This model tends to organize data in a tree structure. Data tends to be structured downward in a hierarchy of tables.
  3. Network model-This model arranges data in a plex or network structure. In this model, any column in the plex can be associated with any other.
  4. The relational model-This model classifies data in tables. Each table is given and identified by a particular table name and is split into columns and rows. Each column in the table is also presented a specific identification name. In the table, rows tend to represent one record.

List of GIS Data Formats

There are a couple of GIS data formats that one can use after learning how to do GIS mapping. These include;

  1. Vector GIS file formats- These file formats are used to store vector data. Vector data does not comprise of grids of pixels but rather vertices and paths. The three significant symbol types for vector data include polygons, points, and lines. 
  2. Raster GIS file formats-These formats contain raster data that comprises of pixels. The pixels are square and are regularly-spaced. They are regularly used by people who have just learnt how to do GIS mapping due to their simplicity.
  3. Compressed raster file formats-These file formats reduce the size of the file by permanently deleting redundant information.
  4. Geographic database file formats-These formats are used to store geographic data.
  5. LiDAR file formats-These GIS formats allow users who have learnt how to do GIS mapping an opportunity to use Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology to view the earth’s surface.

The GIS Mapping Software –open source and commercial (pay for)

A user learning how to do GIS mapping but be familiar with the software to use. The GIS software allows an individual to produce maps and any other graphic image of geographic information for presentation and analysis. The software is very beneficial because it helps in visualizing the spatial data, which helps in building credibility and supporting decision making in the organization. A GIS typically stores the data on various geographical features and their distinct characteristics.

The features tend to be indicated as either lines, points, or as raster images. Therefore, in the case of the map of a specific city, the data can be stored in the form of points. The road data, however, can be saved as lines, with the boundaries being stored as areas, and the aerial images or scanned maps being stored as raster images. There are plenty of GIS software. These are classified into either open or commercial mapping software.

Examples of the best GIS Software

There have been questions that have been asked regarding the best software to use when mapping. One of the best software to use is QGIS. It is one of the highly ranked open mapping software and is considered by many as a jackpot. This is because the software allows one to automate the production of maps, quickly process geospatial data, and efficiently generate the drool-worthy cartographic figures. It makes mapping work much more manageable, making it a favorite of many. 

Another highly preferred commercial software is ArcGIS. It is also known as Esri and came into the geospatial scene back in the 1970s. Esri ArcGIS is considered the most innovative and cutting-edge geographic information science software due to its fantastic features. Its extensions are efficient, and it has an exceptional network analyst that makes it unbeatable by other commercial GIS software. Maptitude GIS is another popular software that students learn when they are learning how to do GIS mapping. 

Specific Geography

This mapping software grants an individual the tools, maps, and data they require to analyze and comprehend how the specific geography in question affects them and their firm. Currently, Maptitude is the most efficient and cheap, full-featured software available. It has been specially designed to allow an individual to visualize the data in question. It also allows them to analyze the geography. Maptitude comes hand in hand with a comprehensive library of nationwide and worldwide maps, comprising of in-depth United States demographics, street maps, and boundaries like the ZIP Codes and Census Tracts.

This software executes a relational and professional-strength database, a critical aspect for GIS software. When using the Maptitude software, attribute data can be freely attached to and detached from tables and geographic layers. The relational data manipulation aspect is integrated with powerful and robust geoprocessing for polygon overlay, spatial queries, and other location-based analysis. All these exceptional features of Maptitude make it the best GIS software currently.

Uses of the GIS

If you learn how to do GIS mapping, you get to use this program in the following ways;

1. To map the exact location of things

Learning how to do GIS mapping helps the user to map a specific region. The computer device can be used to pinpoint the exact spatial location of particular features in the world. It also allows an individual to visualize the existing spatial relationships in these features.

2. To map quantities

People who have mastered how to do GIS mapping get to map portions to discover which areas have the most and least features. As they look at the quantity distribution of such features, they also get to determine the existing relationships between these areas.

3. To map densities

Sometimes, a person who has learnt how to do GIS mapping may be required to map the concentrations or quantities that are normalized by a specific location or by their total number. In such a case, the best software to use is the GIS.

4. To determine the features inside a specific area

When one learns how to do GIS mapping, they get to learn about the elements within a particular region. The GIS program helps to identify what is inside a specific location. It determines the features in that locality and also the distinct characteristics. The characteristics are identified through the creation of specific criteria that define that particular area of interest (AOI).

5. To identify what is near your area of interest

Learning how to do GIS mapping also helps one to discover their surroundings. It is possible to determine the proceedings within your set AOI by using geoprocessing tools such as BUFFER.

6. To map change

When you learn how to do GIS mapping, you get to identify how to allocate change. One needs to map change since it helps one to anticipate future conditions. The GIS identifies specific changes in the determined geographic region, to help an individual determine the course of action or to validate the use of the results in the decision making process.

7. To discover brewing relationships

GIS technology can also be utilized to identify comparisons in various locations. For example, by using GIS, one can map an area that has a manufacturing company and a river nearby. The mapping can help identify if the pollution produced at the manufacturing company affects the river nearby, or whether the river faces any risk.

It is undeniable that the GIS program comes in handy in various ways. Due to this, Geographic Information Science students must know how to do GIS mapping. In most cases, students struggle with this concept. The good news is, today, students can acquire ideal GIS Homework help from expert writers at GIS homework. Therefore do not miss out on attaining all these benefits. Learn how to do GIS mapping at GIS homework.

GIS Careers

Students who are majoring in Geographic Information Science or Geography and specialize in Spatial Analysis can undertake any of the following careers:

  • Cartographer for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency or the United States of America Geological Survey 
  • Project Manager for Woolpert, Inc.
  • Solutions Engineer
  • Shipper/Route Delivery Manager
  • Market Researcher/Analyst
  • Computer Systems Manager
  • Geospatial Analyst/Consultant for a metropolitan planning organization
  • Manager or Planner: transportation, health services, urban development, land use
  • Real Estate Appraiser/Researcher
  • Information Technology 
  • GIS Software Developer for Esri
  • Web Developer or Designer
  • Location/Site Selection Expert

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