Geographic Information Management

 Geographic Information Management is a specialized aspect of information management science employing an integrated approach that encompasses the acquisition, processing, analysis, presentation and storage of geographic data. Geographic Information Managers direct the activities of geographic information system specialists engaged in creating and editing geographically indexed databases, used in generating maps and related statistical reports.

GIS is not simply an improved, digital version of the traditional paper map. GIS involves analyzing spatial data rather than simply displaying it. Spatial data used in land information management comes from many sources, including earth-orbiting satellites, air and sea-borne sensors, and ground-based instruments. Data is processed and interpreted using powerful computers and software programs. Computer technology now makes it possible not only to capture and manage the geographic features digitally, but also to integrate attribute or descriptive information about such features in one single relational database environment. The Global Positioning System (GPS), using data from earth-orbiting satellites, has greatly improved the acquisition of positional data. These improvements in time, cost and methodology have enhanced the integration of the positional data with the attribute data.

Geographic Information Management leverages these technologies, making it possible to perform digital spatial analysis of the disparate data sets, thereby providing value-added geographic information in support of decision-making processes. Tasks as varied as planning urban growth, managing a forest, implementing "precision farming", assessing insurance claims, siting an automatic teller machine, routing 911 vehicles, drilling a well, assessing groundwater contamination, designing a cellular phone network, guiding "intelligent" vehicles, assessing the market for manufactured goods, managing a city, operating a utility, improving wildlife habitat, monitoring air quality, assessing environmental impact, designing a road, studying human health statistics, minimizing water pollution, undertaking real estate transactions, preserving wetlands, mapping natural hazards and disasters, providing famine relief, or studying the causes and consequences of global climate change, can be greatly enhanced by the use of some form of geospatial technology.

Check out the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) here: http://www.urisa.org.

Check out the URISA, Ontario Chapter here: http://www.urisaoc.ca.

An industry that is complementary to Geomatics in many ways is the Intelligent Transportation Industry (ITS). Automobile navigation systems will probably be installed in mid-range family cars in the near future. Read a relevant article here.