Geographic Information Systems

by William E. Gates, (M.ASCE), Pres.; W.E. Gates and Associates, Inc., Fairfax, Va.,
Richard J. Heil, W.E. Gates and Associates, Inc., Fairfax, Va.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Surveying and Mapping Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 1, Pg. 105-117

Document Type: Journal Paper


The impetus for the development of GIS technologies is derived primarily from the fact that traditional manual techniques for the derivation, organization, storage and use of spatial data are no longer sufficient to meet the demands and expectations placed on such activities. The GIS technology is a service technology used to assist spatial data management, evaluations and analyses. There are three basic approaches currently developed that organize spatial data in a format such that the computer can perform previously time-consuming analytical and display processes. These are: (1)the rectangular grid approach; (2)the fine or coarse polygon approach; and (3)the triangulated irregular network approach. There is a wide range of applications that can be supported by GIS. These can be reasonably divided into two groups: those that depend on qualitative analysis and those that depend on quantitative analysis. The GIS design requirements are much more demanding to support quantitative analyses.

Subject Headings: Spatial data | Geographic information systems | Information systems | Quantitative analysis | Quality control | Business organizations | Information management | Computer analysis

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