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Evolution and Future of Geographic Information Systems

Evolutionand Future of Geographic Information Systems

Evolutionand Future of Geographic Information Systems

The (GIS) geographic information system equipment enhanceseffectiveness and efficacy when working with geographic data since itallows traffic departments to record mapping of roads thus, ensuretraffic control and ease transportation. In this regards, GIS has twousage in regards to traffic i.e. the technology acts as a specializeddata management system intended for the admission, loading, analysis,administration, and display of a wide range of data associated withlocations in roads1.On the other hand, the system acts as a structure of computersoftware, hardware, processes, and personnel intended to support thecapture, operation, administration, assessment, and display ofspatially associated data for resolving development and managementproblems in traffic. In this regards, since GIS technology pools thepower of data base that has the capacity to assimilate computerregisters with computer graphics to generate charts, reports, andmaps to ensure faster, efficient, and effective traffic in roads2.It is against this backdrop that the assessment will turn to theevolution and development of GIS in the transportation sector inregards to traffic to have a clear understanding of itseffectiveness.


The rapiddevelopment of urban economy and the escalating need for socialtransportation saw most agencies attempt to restrict traffic on theexpansion of urban economy. In this regards, easing traffic became asignificant element in most planning and management forums. As such,some towns developed systems and methodologies by using GIS to assessthe flow of traffic both in dynamic and static modes. The world sawthe development of integrated GPS-GIS systems to provide map-matchingmethods for real time travels and control of traffic. GIS systemshave developed rapidly since 1990s as traditional desktop GIS, WebGIS, and the Geospatial Web 2.0 platform where the software used isopen source and proprietary3.The desktop GIS saw the development of GIS running on PCs but thesystems produced maps for directing spatial assessments. The Web GISin the 1990s saw the integration of GIS with the internet where Webmaps broadened GIS accessibility to any person with an internetconnection and a computer4.On the other hand, the Geospatial Web 2.0 platform developed as anadaptation of Web GIS where the engineers overlapped longitudinaldata on existing map servers through the solicitation of programminginterfaces, for instance, Microsoft’s Bing Maps, Google Maps, andYahoo Maps.

The developmentof computer-based GIS dates back to 1960s with the works of HarvardGraduate School of Design. Such early GIS systems concentrated onarea-based assessments by superimposing multiple layers of elementsassociated with those areas to create compound thematic maps5.Early GIS applications appeared expensive, slow, lacked data sharingaspects, and proved inefficient for large use. All through the 1970s,GIS systems became limited to large government agencies and researchestablishments that had great mainframe computers. However, in early1980s, the world saw the development of minicomputers andworkstations, which provided a chance for engineers to develop broadGIS applications6.As such, early researchers in the field of GIS developed commercialversions of GIS that could run on these computers, which saw peopleand companies start to experiment with the applications. Departmentsof Transportation in most states started to develop and maintaincomputer databases on bridge and highways characterized with highvolumes of traffic flow, etc. during the 1970s.

During the period between 1970s and 1980s, engineers developed manualmethods or computerized mapping processes in most highways. In fact,during this period states like Wisconsin and New York implemented theGIS applications to support the management of road inventory storesand generate thematic maps for planning7.The 1987 symposium on GIS in the transport sector saw the discussionin regards to the identification and application of GIS in easingtraffics and monitoring the flow of traffic. The most importantadoption of GIS occurred in 1990 after the creation of TIGER(Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing)database in conjunction with the decennial survey8.TIGER became the first database in America to link spatial featuressuch railroads, roads, bridges, rivers, and political borders toprovide real occurrences. Also, during early 1990s America developedits NHPN (National Highway Planning Network by using GIS system andwith the development of an office of Geographic Information Servicesin 1995 to oversee the use of GIS technology, America provided acontext for the development and commercial use of GIS in traffic9.Today, GIS systems have become important in most transport sectorsand planning.

Use in traffic

Today, mostplanning agencies especially in the transport sector and urbaniteplanning have increasingly used GIS applications for management andplanning. GIS systems signify a class of computer-based applicationsthat have become progressively significant in the transport sector.As such, most agencies apply GIS in road inventory management,relationship of traffic and environment, and the distribution ofoperations and forecasting information to the public10.Today’s GIS applications locate features in the physical spacethus, it allows users to load and reveal different geospatialfeatures such as political boundaries, bridges, and roads. Inaddition, GIS applications have navigation features, which allowusers to change the continuum of the map display to view a greatertopographical area or a lesser area with more detailed features. Assuch, the applications allow users to pan, zoo out, or zoom in toview locations explicitly. Since GIS systems include otherinformation apart from geographic locations, they allow users to havea clear understanding of their locations11.For instance, a highway feature database may contain its commonhighway name, a signal route, amount of lanes, pavement condition,and average daily traffic flow. GIS systems allow users to point to aspecific feature or location and reveal the attributable informationconnected with the feature or the location.

Today, the useof GIS applications in major transport sectors has enhanced trafficand reduced the number of accidents. Since transportation is ageospatial activity, the use of GIS has become important insupporting the sector through provision of information. In fact, someagencies have used GIS to monitor roads, ease traffic, implementpolicies for eradicating noise pollution, and assisted intransportation planning. Most traffic agencies have used GISapplications in visualization i.e. presenting large amount of data inthe same map, which has helped people to identify patterns,developments, and or anomalies in certain sections of a road12.For example, through GIS people have managed to locate roads withhigh numbers of crashes and accidents or identify the flow oftraffic, which has helped ease accidents and traffic flow.

On the otherhand, people have used GIS applications in assessing data such thatthey have managed to measure distances between distinct geospatialfeatures. As such, the applications have assisted people to makedecisions on the routes to follow or their proximity to a certainarea. Coupled with other applications, people have used GIS systemsin a range of remote sensing systems to provide platform, viewing,assessment, and integration. Such remote technologies include GPS,Multi-spectral imagery, orthoimagery, and LIDAR13.

Trends and thefuture

GIS applicationsallow government agencies to provide prospects to the public toimprove their citizen-oriented public utilities. As such, GISapplications will in future improve the conditions of people thus,they require transparency, engagements with citizens andparticipation. In the past, GIS systems have developed from ComputerDiagramming in 1970s, Spatial Database Administration in 1980s, andMap Modelling in 1990s, which shows that the applications willcontinue to develop and evolve in future14.The world has seen the evolution and integration of GIS applicationsin numerous platforms thus, it has enhanced the lives of people. Newmapping applications and processes such as Multimedia Mapping havedeveloped in the recent past to provide multifaceted services15.On the other hand, Web-based and tailored applications have replacedthe GIS flagships. People have created numerous websites withcomprehensive layers of maps, which allow users to blend and matchtheir own custom views. Furthermore, the world has seen aproliferation of remote sensing imageries and GPS, and coupled withincreased use of Tablets and Smartphones, GIS applications haveenhanced the digital map. 3D views have replaced the traditional 2Dplanimetric maps GIS applications have encompassed hyperlinks andimmersive imaging, and have incorporated virtual reality.

The future ofGIS applications will incorporate 4D images with predictivemodelling, which will completely change the conventional mappingparadigm. In addition, the systems will see the generation ofcognitive essentials and numerous databases of GIS technology.Consensus building and cloud computing integrations will becomeimportant aspects in the future.


Anselin, Luc, and Arthur Getis. &quotSpatial statistical analysisand geographic information systems.&quot In Perspectives onSpatial Data Analysis, pp. 35-47. Springer Berlin Heidelberg,2010.

Ashbridge, Michael, Amin P. Charaniya, Michael T. Jones, and BrianMcClendon. &quotEntity display priority in a distributed geographicinformation system.&quot U.S. Patent 7,933,897, issued April 26,2011.

Bartelme, Norbert. &quotGeographic information systems.&quot InSpringer Handbook of Geographic Information, pp. 59-71.Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2012.

Chang, Kang-tsung. Introduction to geographic information systems.New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.

Costa, Beatriz B., Carlos D. Nassi, and Glaydston M. Ribeiro. &quotAMethodology for Location of Logistics Platforms Using GeographicInformation Systems.&quot Journal of Traffic and LogisticsEngineering 1, no. 2 (2013): 104-110.

Dawsen, Christopher J.. Geographic information systems. NewYork: Nova Science Publishers, 2011.

Fang, L. I., and W. U. Fang. &quotEvalution of traffic safety atintersections based on traffic conflict technique.&quot Technologyand Economy in Areas of Communications 5 (2011): 64-66.

Galati, Stephen R.. Geographic information systems demystified.Boston: Artech House, 2006.

Guise, Brian. &quotExpectations for Presentation of Engineering andScientific Mobile Platform Information within a Virtual GlobeGeographic Information Systems.&quot Journal of GeographicInformation System 03, no. 02 (2011): 120-127.

Miller, John. &quotGeographic Information Systems: Unique AnalyticCapabilities for the Traffic Safety Community.&quot TransportationResearch Record 1734, no. 1 (2000): 21-28.

1 Luc Anselin, and Getis Arthur. &quotSpatial statistical analysis and geographic information systems.&quot In Perspectives on Spatial Data Analysis, 38

2 Anselin, and Getis. &quotSpatial statistical analysis and geographic information systems 42

3 Michael Ashbridge, Charaniya Amin P, Michael T. Jones, and Brian McClendon. &quotEntity display priority in a distributed geographic information system.&quot U.S. Patent 7,933,897, 12

4 Norbet, Bartelme. &quotGeographic information systems.&quot In Springer Handbook of Geographic Information, 69

5 Bartelme. &quotGeographic information systems 70

6 Ibid Kang-tsung, Chang. Introduction to geographic information systems. New York: McGraw-Hill, 201.

7 Beatriz B, Costa, Nassi, Carlos D., and Ribeiro, Glaydston M.. &quotA Methodology for Location of Logistics Platforms Using Geographic Information Systems.&quot Journal of Traffic and Logistics Engineering 1, no. 2 (2013): 107.

8 Christopher J, Dawsen,.. Geographic information systems. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 168.

9 Dawsen, Christopher J, Geographic information systems. 169

10 Fang and Fang. &quotEvalution of traffic safety at intersections based on traffic conflict technique.&quot Technology and Economy in Areas of Communications 5 (2011), 66

11 Stephen, Galati.. Geographic information systems demystified. Boston: Artech House, 66.

12 Galati, Stephen. Geographic information systems demystified, 71

13 Brian, Guise,. &quotExpectations for Presentation of Engineering and Scientific Mobile Platform Information within a Virtual Globe Geographic Information Systems.&quot Journal of Geographic Information System 03, no. 02 (2011), 124.

14 John, Miller. &quotGeographic Information Systems: Unique Analytic Capabilities for the Traffic Safety Community.&quot Transportation Research Record 1734, no. 1 (2000), 26.

15 Miller, John. &quotGeographic Information Systems, 28.