Making decisions based on geography is basic to human thinking. Where shall we go, what will it be like, and what shall we do when we get there are applied to the simple event of going to the store or to the major event of launching a bathysphere into the ocean’s depths. By understanding geography and people's relationship to location, we can make informed decisions about the way we live on our planet. A geographic information system (GIS) is a technological tool for comprehending geography and making intelligent decisions.
GIS organizes geographic data so that a person reading a map can select data necessary for a specific project or task. A thematic map has a table of contents that allows the reader to add layers of information to a basemap of real-world locations. For example, a social analyst might use the basemap of Eugene, Oregon, and select datasets from the U.S. Census Bureau to add data layers to a map that shows residents’ education levels, ages, and employment status. With an ability to combine a variety of datasets in an infinite number of ways, GIS is a useful tool for nearly every field of knowledge from archaeology to zoology.
A good GIS program is able to process geographic data from a variety of sources and integrate it into a map project. Many countries have an abundance of geographic data for analysis, and governments often make GIS datasets publicly available. Map fi le databases often come included with GIS packages; others can be obtained from both commercial vendors and government agencies. Some data is gathered in the field by global positioning units that attach a location coordinate (latitude and longitude) to a feature such as a pump station.
GIS maps are interactive. On the computer screen, map users can scan a GIS map in any direction, zoom in or out, and change the nature of the information contained in the map. They can choose whether to see the roads, how many roads to see, and how roads should be depicted. Then they can select what other items they wish to view alongside these roads such as storm drains, gas lines, rare plants, or hospitals. Some GIS programs are designed to perform sophisticated calculations for tracking storms or predicting erosion patterns. GIS applications can be embedded into common activities such as verifying an address.
From routinely performing work-related tasks to scientifically exploring the complexities of our world, GIS gives people the geographic advantage to become more productive, more aware, and more responsive citizens of planet Earth.
GIS for Mining
Mineral exploration geo scientists use diverse types of data sets to search for new economic deposits. Data sources vary from geologic maps, hyperspectral airborne and multi spectral satellite images, and geophysical images to databases in many formats. GIS is an ideal platform to bring them together in a geoscientist’s computer and deliver meaningful outcomes.
GIS is now able to help geoscientists in many aspects of their activities: data collection,
management, analysis, and reporting. Field geologists can now capture fi eld data electronically using Arc Pad and global positioning system (GPS) receivers. Other datasets may be downloaded from the Internet. All of these datasets can be integrated, manipulated, and analyzed using GIS.
Pipelines, electric lines, roads, ramps, and other mining facilities change frequently. Engineers and operations staff use GIS for facility planning applications. Keeping track of existing infrastructure and integrating it with the mine plan and block models can be achieved with GIS.
GIS can also be used to integrate recent survey data with block models or mine design data from other mining software packages such as Geo Soft, Vulcan, Mine Sight, SURPAC Range, or Mining Visualization System (MVS).
Most mining information, including financial and asset information, has some sort of spatial component that can be represented in map form. Management and mineral economists are using GIS in their evaluation of corporate and competitor assets. Mining companies also use GIS to actively monitor the environmental impacts that may be caused by their activities and conduct reclamation.
Various types of geologic datasets, such as geophysical images, geochemistry, geologic maps, radiometric measurements, boreholes, and mineral deposits, can be displayed, interrogated, and analyzed simultaneously using GIS.