By Dr Linda Omar
A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer-based tool used to store, visualise, analyse and interpret geographic data to create, build and connect to maps.
GIS also integrates location data (where things are) with other descriptive information (what things are like there) (ESRI).
Benefits of GIS in Our Community
GIS is a perfect tool to answer specific data-related questions in science, public health, epidemiological studies, environment and economics among others. GIS support understanding trends and connections in a visualised geographic context. This gives timely better management for decision-makers and enhances communication and efficiency.
Today, the adoption of GIS is not limited to archetypal sectors like defense and intelligence, disaster management, land administration, urban development, and infrastructure, but has extended to sectors such as banking and finance, retail, supply chain and logistics, and real estate, among many others.
GIS Sectors Users
- Public Health Sector
Geospatial technology in the form of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) enables spatial representation of data to support better public health planning and decision-making. The global health and medical applications of GIS are numerous, and many countries currently lack the benefits of GIS to strengthen their health information system (WHO GIS Centre).
- Disaster Management Sector
A natural disaster is “the negative impact following an actual occurrence of natural hazard in the event that it significantly harms a community”.
A natural disaster can cause loss of life or damage property and typically leaves some economic damage in its wake. The severity of the damage depends on the affected population’s resilience and on the infrastructure available.
In order to concentrate efforts, reduce the effects and defend against the complex dangers, using GIS technology would be the best effective solution for emergency managers. GIS will support communities preparing for major calamities and assist in response and recovery, through building resilience with data-driven insights, responding with real-time information, and re-establishing lifelines with mobile tools and drone technology.
- Urban Development Sector
Urban planners also referred to as city planners, design cities and develop plans for expansion and improvement. A large portion of what you see when navigating through an urban setting is included in these plans, including streets, parks, public spaces, and more. Fortunately, technology has improved in a way that can be useful for modern urban planners. Geographic information systems (GIS) now offer database development, spatial analysis and modelling, and visualisation, making them invaluable tools for urban planners.
GIS brings a wide range of benefits to urban development which ranges from the improved mapping of cities, increased access to vital information, improved communication, improved efficiency for public services and support for strategic decision-making.
- Banking and Finance Sector
Geographic information system (GIS) is increasingly informing decision-making in financial inclusion, as well.
Financial service providers (FSPs) are not always aware of the opportunities available to them when they combine their internal datasets with financial access point data and other GIS information.
A customer-centric business model can help address the challenges in the banking sector like the ease of usability, skimming, web hacking and problems with customer services. Financial products and services and delivering them to customers are the major functions of banks. One of the required features of Banking industries and financial services is Market analysis.
Banks and Financial Services manage a tremendous amount of information about their customers, including information about their profiles and much more. The banking sector gains enormous advantages from the use of GIS or geographic modeling with future plans.
One of the main functions of banks is database management for bank data and customer relationship management.
Hence, GIS would be useful and important in various ways that include customer analysis and management, market analysis, performance monitoring, and asset management.
- Retail Sector
Geographic Information System (GIS) plays a significant role in your life, whether you realise it or not. Maps and data analysis may help you understand where people shop and trends in consumer buying behaviour based on demographics and psychographics, and the retail industry is no different. Hence, there is a need for a comprehensive location intelligence platform for retail.
Never before has there been such fierce competition for your clients’ attention. Retailers must be aware of who their best clients are and be prepared to appeal to them with pertinent goods and services.
As well as assurance that their teams, inventories, and other assets are prepared to meet shifting client demand. Retailers must also maintain the security and compliance of their patrons, staff, and stores.
- Supply Chain and Logistics Sector
A supply chain is a network of facilities and distribution options that perform the functions of procurement of materials and the distribution of finished products to customers.
Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the process of planning and management of materials, information and financial flow in a network. GIS can be used as a tool to map manufacturing, clients, processing units, supplier locations, distribution centres, and routing of vehicles.
GIS can be used as decision support for effective supply chain management to reach their objectives of reducing costs, increasing the business and improving customer service. Also, it will help the supply chain to support emergency response and public health events of national and international concerns.
In conclusion, GIS becomes one of the key digital innovative tools in our daily life.
On that note, Medlico Research and Training centre is committed to offering tailor-made GIS training to help municipalities utilise GIS technology in making decisions and service delivery to the public.
Also, we aim at collaborating with other organisations and individuals to leverage the benefits of Geospatial technology, which will support us to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and delivering WHO GPW 13 Triple Billion Targets.
To leverage on the GIS importance, Medlico is providing online GIS Introductory Course on 29 November — 01 December, 2022.
Dr Linda Haj Omar is the CEO of Medlico Research & Training Centre. Medlico Research and Training Centre aims to enhance public health issues and community needs, through applying evidence-based research, capacity building and community engagement. For more feedback: Tel: (+263) 242 702326/7, WhatsApp: +263 777 553011/12, Email: [email protected]