GIS Industry Overview: Business Segments and Opportunities
The most important component of Geographic Information Systems is its requirement for spatial data. Spatial data is any kind of information that has been collected, compiled, or processed with a spatial component, that is, a tie to a geographic location on the surface of the Earth. It so happens that this is a large segment of the spatial industry, often consuming an appreciable portion of dollars assigned to GIS implementation projects. Spatial data management is increasingly a consideration in any information management system (IMS) due to the fact that large amounts of data are being collected with spatial components. Businesses and government organizations are realizing that a traditional IMS does not allow an organization to leverage the value of spatial information inherent in their data. This has led to the development of software tools as extensions to commercial Data Management Systems (DMS) that allow for better storage, manipulation, and query of spatial data.
Considering the importance of quality spatial data, there are a number of operations that play important roles in the GIS Industry:
Data collection and extraction
There are a great number of sources for spatial data and, thereby, a large variety of collection systems. Organizations involved in primary data development utilize a number of technologies to gather unique, and typically current, spatial data. These may include aerial photography and satellite imagery, specialized sensors and metering systems such as stream flow monitors, human surveys by the Census Bureau, or customer information collected by supermarkets and businesses.
The fact that spatial information is collected does not necessarily entail its usability in a GIS. There is often some level of extraction or processing of relevant information to get data into a desired format or category. For example, satellite imagery provides an exceptional source...