Geographic information system

Def- a tool that allows geographers and analysts to visualize data in several different ways in order to see patterns and relationships in a given area or subject

For Example Google Earth

How does it work??

Well its a bit complex but here's a brief description of the process (It helps to think of it in layers)

Alright to start off with any type of map we need to be able to represent specific points on the map so, like in most cases, we would use coordinates, imagine this as the bottom layer of data its basic, but its necessary ( imagine a coordinate grid)

From here you just add on to your base layer of a grid, so basically your stacking up a whole bunch of transparent maps on top of each other in order to see multiple variables.

There are 3 ways to view a GIS, through geodatbases (mostly tables and raw data), through mapview (the more common and popular version), or through model view (a bit of both but allows the user to add variables)

Queue the amazing Visual Representation

So What Could we possibly use this silly ole' do hicker for??

Well as you can see in the visual example it allows a person to draw a conclusion on certain things because of such a user friendly interactive map that displays a multitude of varibles, the most popular usage of a G.I.S is finding out where exactly to place a building and why it may be a good idea to place it there. ( other examples; Marketing,Environmental Research)

Now that we have the basics down lets look at all the cases...


Nuclear Power Plants GIS - This grouping of data is important because it allows those in search of constructing a new Nuclear Power Plant to see whether or not they are too close to another power plant. This also comes with the nifty display of evacuation zone radius which display red circles around the power plants simulating the emergency evacuation zones to scale.

The Geo-medicine GIS - This would allow the user to locate what regions are more susceptible to illness from chemical pollution, vital if protesting the pollution of nuclear power plants or maybe the process of burning e-waste.

Hazard Map GIS - This could be used for a number of things but similar to a model or simulation its primary use is to provide a visualization of past hazardous events in order to recognize pattern this would work best with a Climate/Weather GIS.


- The first layer and the more important of the two would be a hazard map which would be used to see if a specific region is more likely to produce a hazard that may pose a potential threat to the Power Plant

- The second layer that would be used would be a map of nearby power plants that way as the decision is being made as to where the nuclear power plant should go they can avoid putting it to close to other plants or dangerous structures that may intensify a chemical reaction (in the event of nuclear meltdown or catastrophic event)


- El Salvador is currently undergoing a stage where there is mass poverty, people, children are dying each day from simple treatment illnesses, due to lack of healthcare options in El Salvador citizens of the culturally enriched country suffer from painful deaths that could have been easily avoided if the proper treatment was administered an organization known as AmeriCares is looking to provide aid to those in need in this country.

This would be a perfect situation in which a GIS could be used, although there is limited data on the country of El Salvador, it still is enough in order to assist AmeriCares' choice on where to construct  treatment centers.

This can be done by using a mortality rate (from easily treatable illnesses) per square mile GIS layer on top of that layer they could use a hazard map in order to view which areas are in need of shelter and or basic supplies such as; food, water, and clothing due to recent natural disasters and other devastation. With both of these maps it can become clear on exactly where people are in desperate need for help and what location would be most efficient for a treatment center.

San Francisco Hospital

In the San Francisco Bay area, where is the best place to put a hospital?

Things to take into account:

     1) Population density

Hospitals need to be in an area where it can easily service as many people as possible, yet the place cannot be too crowded for traffic reasons. Using GIS would allow the constructors to see how many people are living in one are and how crowded the desirable plots are.

     2) Location of current hospitals

GIS shows its users where other businesses are, such as other hospitals. A constructor would want to keep a nice distance away from other hospitals to spread availability through the area, but not too far away, in case there is an emergency, and they need to transfer patients or even doctors.

     3) Seismic hazards

There are constant earthquakes in San Francisco, and using GIS and its aspects that measure geographic events would tell the constructionists the average earthquake severity of certain parts of the bay. According to that data, they could avoid places that commonly have earthquakes, even if they are not heavy. Even still, if they could not build in a place with minimal seismic events, the average earthquake severity could tell the builders how strong to make their building.

     4)Location relative to transport networks

The hospital needs to be close to roads that make it easier for people to get there. Also, ambulances and such that travel to and from the hospital frequently and in a hurry need to be able to get to their patients without trouble. If the constructionists use GIS to view available roads, even some that may closed for construction when the hospital is in use.

Coordinates for my hospital:

37°46'6.28"N, 122°30'17.75"W

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