Geographic Information System

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Geographic Information System (GIS)

Geographic Information system is a high tech system, which is equivalent of a map. Unlike the old traditional maps that were mainly meant to serve one purpose when they were printed, Geographic Information System can be used for quiet a number of purposes, altered frequently, edited and usually include countless amounts of data that is easy to manipulate to serve specific functions or just updated any time. This improves the utilization of time in the field as well as accuracy in the analysis and evaluation of data.

With regard to the environmental management, Geographic information system provides the environmental managers with the appropriate and the required tools to manage huge chunks of land. This also enables them to create models for resource planning strategies. This improves the efficiency of managing these lands since it gives a clear indication of not only the locations but also the specific hazards or adverse features in the environment. Unlike the traditional methods where the environmental managers mainly depended on field technicians to collect and analyze data, which may be subject to different errors depending on the personal opinion of a technician on the field, Geographic Information System has been integrated in a special database system, which has enhanced the data collection from the field.

This is known to reduce the known sources of errors, deliver accurate information on the field that is necessary for correct planning.  This is because with Geographic information system, it is possible to view different cover of lands of different geographic nature and come up with a correct analysis of the relationship with the environment. In this way, environmental managers are capable of initiating and implementing early plans that are necessary to restore adverse effects to the environment at an appropriate time. When this information is integrated with the wildlife data, it is possible to mange the environment in a more appropriate manner. It is also possible to conduct frequent assessments with Geographic information systems and hence detect possible impacts to the environment. This enables prompt decision making at the right time especially when there is need to implement a new policy and other environmental decisions.

Management of environmental pollution is one issue that has rocked all corners of the world and discussed currently in major environmental conferences. United Nations environmental program has also warned that there is need to manage pollution rate if various governments are to ensure that the future lives are also protected. Geographic information systems are also used in the management of the environmental pollution. In more particular, non-point pollution such as those that are different, diverse and diffuse sources like water flow and precipitation. These types of pollutions are very difficult to monitor and manage in appropriate way. However, through the integration of the topographical data in the Geographic Information systems, it is possible to locate the areas that are susceptible to the pollution by following the water flows. The managers therefore determine possible areas of impact easily and an appropriate policy can be implemented to cub the problem or reduce the impact of the problem. This is usually useful in the management of big areas that may not be accessible by the environmental field technicians.

Water testing can reveal different types of pollution and their origin on the land.  Different pollutants have different effects to the environment and the extent of each effect depends on how toxic such pollutants are to the agents that they come across. When geographic Information system is integrated with the water flow data of the surrounding, it is possible to identify different sources of pollution majorly from the agricultural runoff, which is usually associated with different and diverse kinds of pollutants that are not detectable through the traditional means. Other examples include areas that are associated with acidic mining and hence information on such areas can be integrated with the Geographic information systems to help managers manage the environment accordingly and hence reduce pollution.

Geographic information systems are also used in the research as well as wildlife management. In this way, the researchers combine both the GIS and the wildlife telemetry. Through these two means, it is possible to track and enable one to know the number of wildlife in a particular geographic region; this is possible with different radio calls and other equipments that can track. With the integration of the Geographic Information system and the radio collars, it is possible to collect and transmit back to the base stations the correct data. In this way, it is possible to identify and mark the correct habitats preference for a wide variety of wildlife. This helps in planning and control of wildlife hence facilitate environmental management.

Geographic information system is also useful in the process of land reclamation. GIS is useful in identifying and mapping most of the hazardous sites especially mining sites, which often results into the byproducts that are toxic to the environment, which may include the arsenic and cyanide. The proper location and estimation of these sites is vital in the assessment of the environmental risks and hence helps in the protection of the environment and the people in the environment as well. The data generated by the GIS is very important since it does not only asses the impact on the environment but also identify the contamination sites that may lead to ground water. Mining reclamation is very costly; however, having the correct locations of these sites may help the environmental managers reclaim the lands easily.


Geographic Information system is a fast and a more accurate tool that can be used to enhance environmental management. It is useful in the management of pollution especially from non point sources, land reclamation, wildlife management as well as the prevention of adverse health effects that may be caused to the environment. It is useful in the management of large pieces of land and other areas that may not be accessible by field offices in which it assess and identify sources of threats to the environment.