Geographical information systems (GIS) is a fast-growing and important part of a number of businesses. Estimates as to the size of the geographic information business in the UK vary from around £650million to over £900million, according to the Association for Geographic Information (AGI).
GIS are computerised systems used for the collection, storage, analysis, manipulation and presentation of complex geographical information, relevant to most sectors of government and commerce. Previously, this would have been a combination of electronic versions of traditional paper maps and social and economic data.
Roles within GIS can vary between company and sector. However, all GIS officers are involved in the production of data and analysis to help plan and deliver services or products in areas such as defence, construction, oil, gas, water, telecoms, electricity, the environment, healthcare, transport planning and operation, retail location planning and logistics, insurance and finance. With such a wide range of possible roles available in the public, private and third sectors, there is even the potential to combine a career in GIS with other interests or passions.
As the world becomes more mobile, the rise of applications utilising GPS (global positioning systems), such as geotagging photographs and augmented reality, could lead to new uses for GIS and opportunities in the field.
Due to the wide range of organisations that use GIS, work activities vary for GIS officers and may include:
Collection of geographical information:
Storage, analysis and presentation of geographical information:
Many of the activities are project based and involve working with clients to clarify the nature and purpose of the information they require.
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