We started using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in 2009. You can read about our earlier experiences here.
If we look back ten years, to the majority of people, the Internet was strange and you needed to be a computer geek to make any sense of it. Large businesses and “strange” individuals used it, but the Internet wasn’t part of everyone’s lives. Today, if you want to find anything out or to contact anyone anywhere in the world then the Internet is almost everyone’s choice.
GIS is in a similar state to the Internet of a few years ago, primarily in the hands of large organisations and specialists... but that is changing rapidly.
Our county council have said that at least 85% of everything they do has a GIS aspect so, moving forwards we may come to consider being able to use computer mapping systems in a similar way to how we now regard word processors, spreadsheets and photo editors. Sat Navs, online route planners and smart phone mapping have suddenly become the standard way to find our way around.
Over the next few years, GIS will continue to become a more and more important part of our lives. Will you be using it, or still only using paper maps?
To start with GIS, you need three things:
- A computer. You’ve obviously got one as you’re using it now!
- GIS software. This used to be expensive to buy and difficult to learn to use. Quantum GIS has changed this and provides a free quality solution.
- Digital maps. In 2010, Ordnance Survey introduced OpenData and released free maps for the whole of the UK. In April 2011 they additionally introduced the Public Sector Mapping Agreement which provides even more detailed maps freely to almost everyone involved with the public sector.
So, if you haven’t started yet, look at our information on QGIS and Free Maps... then start mapping.