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GIS- The Daughter of Geography and Surveying

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Source: TRKM

By Kory Korir

For those individuals who are a bit more GeoTech savvy, GIS can be described as an upgrade of traditional cartographic representation of the features of the earth on a dynamic platform whose manipulation yields myriad outputs that can be used in different dimensions and capacities. This statement cannot be under looked as it represents the basis of evolution of Geographic Information System. Much as the presence of Homo erectus, ideally, facilitated the realization of Homo sapiens…

This boils down to two professions that can be termed as the co-mothers of GIS; Geography & Surveying and Mapping. For laypeople, Geography can be briefly described as the study of the distribution of physical and man-made features on the surface of the earth and the human interactions of these features. Most of these features need to be visualized in order to understand their interactions more. This ushers in surveyors and cartographers to precisely map and represent these features in a way that can be understood better. After all, these maps or visualizations are meant for people to understand.

The unsung proponent of GIS was Charles Piquet, who was a geographer by profession. He created a map that showcased the cholera epidemiology in Paris. That happened in the year 1832 after which the famous John Snow, in the year 1854, mapped the deaths that resulted from cholera outbreak which was quickly associated with the location of London’s water supply.

John snow’s map was not only a representation of data and facts from the ground, it was also used to deduce relationships and interactions between different features that resulted to the outbreak. This made it easy to make decisions based on the aforementioned map.

With the advent of computers and technological advancement being on the rise every day, the deterrent aspects that limited analyses based on maps are being phased out and spatial analyses taking the crucial place in providence of location intelligence as well as business intelligence through enhanced visualizations. This bore what we call these days Geographical Information System(GIS)