Geographical Information Systems

by Samuel Watson and Alex Phanh

What is GIS?

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are similar to virtual globes, but provides facilities to store and analyze much larger amounts of data.

  • Population Densities
  • Crime Patterns
  • Natural Phenomena (Volcanoes, Earthquake fault lines, etc.)
  • Average Income
  • Police Stations, Fire Stations, and Hospitals

Specific kinds of Geographical Information Systems

Nuclear Power Plant GIS

Displays information such as location of nuclear reactors, amount of radiation or environmental impact, and the amount of people effected

Decisions that could be made using these systems:

  • Government could decide where to install a new nuclear reactor power plant using information such as potential hazard, radiation emissions, and the amount of people affected
  • People could decide if the want to buy a house close to one of these reactors
  • Environmentalists could decide if a new power plant would help of hurt the environment.

Geomedicine GIS

A Geomedicine GIS delivers information related to all health concerns such as heart attach rates, toxic waste disposal, and disease levels

Decisions that could be made using these systems:

  • Used by governments to decided the best location to place a hospital
  • Used by governments to research disease concentrations and how to prevent spreading
  • Used by citizens to decide the best location for a home and any other health concerns in the local area
  • Also used by governments to determine acceptable hospital to citizen ratios

Hazard Map GIS

This displays information such as possibility of natural disaster including tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, and forest fires, and volcanic eruptions

Decisions that could be made using these systems:

  • Used by governments to determine best place for a hospital, police station, or fire station
  • Used by governments to determine safety of settlement in volcanic regions
  • Used by city planners to determine best location for buildings and other structures especially in cities built around fault lines
  • Used by engineers to decide best materials suit for structures depending on factors like frequency and degree of storms, hurricanes, tornados, and tsunamis

Data layers used by government to make decision about building a new Power Plant

  1. Reactor/Resident Layer-This shows information about the amount of population within a given radius of a nuclear reactor. This would let the government know what the effect a new reactor would have on the population incorporating factors such as density and radius length
  2. Civil Structure Layer-This would show the government what civil structures are in the area and within a given radius of the intended location of the reactor. It would give them information like local hospitals in the area, schools, and other densely populated buildings

Data Layers and El Salvador

  1. Traffic Layer-This shows information about which roads are traveled the most, which roads have the most traffic, which roads have the most accidents, etc. This lets the government know where to expand their roads and which ones are the most important.
  2. Store Locations Layer-Different from the others, this can help businesses rather than the government. Businesses can setup different locations according to the local demand and the business they offer. If there is nearby competition, the business can decided if they want to move somewhere else or they can fight for business.

Which area is suitable for a hospital in San Francisco Bay?

California is know for its earthquakes. That is what made me believe using the earthquake layers would be best.

Using Google Maps Pro, I was able to use the earthquake layers to help determine the best location for a hospital in San Francisco.

Latitude: 37°43'49.18"N Longitude: 122°28'47.19"W

This area is suitable for a hospital because of its location:

  • Located on the corner of a two large intersecting roads
  • The local Stonetown Transit station is nearby
  • Location relative to the fault lines; It is built on solid ground that resists shaking during earthquakes and the area has little exposure to landslides.

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