A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based system which uses a range of sources to gather, process, analyse, combine and present spatial and geographic data.
However, the GIS acronym is also used more broadly to refer to Geographic Information Sciences and ‘geo-spatial information studies’.
GIS-related applications are software that makes it possible to create interactive queries, study spatial information, and modify and edit data using maps.
GIS is also a generic term used to refer to a set of technologies, processes and methods, often in relation to local development, network management, telecommunications, engineering, transport, logistics, and maintenance.
GIS: at the interface between a range of businesses
A Geographic Information System draws on both technical knowledge and a range of professional expertise. Indeed, specialists must be competent in geodesics (familiarity with the concepts of reference systems and projection systems). They must also be competent in data analysis, processing and modelling (for instance Merise analysis and the UML language), statistics processing, graphic and cartographic semiology, graphics processing, and of course computer science!
The profession of Geomatician brings together all these technical skills. These are then supplemented by specific ‘business’ skills.
For the past 25 years, GiSmartware has been maintaining this expertise among its staff, both with regard to IT and in the business lines for which it offers GIS software solutions: water, wastewater, telecoms, energy, and for two years now, the Smart City.
The three components of geographic information
Information pertaining to an object described in terms of its type, and aspect
The object’s characteristics as a whole constitute its attributes (e.g.: the number of a plot in a land registry, the name of a road, river, municipality, etc.)
Any relationships with other objects or phenomena
E.g.: the boundary between two municipalities, the inclusion of a plot within a municipality, the adjacency between the various nodes in sections making up a network, etc.;
The shape and location of the object on the Earth’s surface, expressed in a system of explicit coordinates
E.g.: polar or spherical geographical longitude/latitude coordinates or cartographic coordinates based on a map projection such as the Lambert projection.