How can geographical maps be used to find the source of pandemics?
The use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to find the cause or source of a pandemic dates back 1854 when a British physician, John Snow, analyzed the relationship between water pumps and cholera cases, and came to the conclusion that water was the cause in spreading the disease, and thus the spread of Cholera was halted with the use of GIS when this physician made the spatial connection between water pumps and the disease.
GIS made a huge impact on curbing many other health conditions such as:
1890 – Maps were used to delineate the geographical distribution of rickets.
1948 and 1956 – Spatial analysis was used to study the relationship between sunlight and cancer.
2017 – GIS played a role in a study of the Ebola Virus.
2019 to today - GIS currently is proving to be an extremely valuable tool using geographical information to study issues around the virus and trying to get a better understanding of the spread of the virus.
As seen by these situations, GIS has been successful in providing an in depth understanding of public health issues, therefore it’s no wonder that people are turning to GIS for answers about the coronavirus.
Platform set by Land Surveyors
I’m sure we’ve all seen those guys next to the highways or in the middle of a field, bending at all kind of angles over an instrument on top of a tripod, squinting with one eye through a lens.
Technology in the field of surveying has advanced at quite a mind-boggling pace.
What are these guys and nowadays even gals looking for, we wonder?
Land Surveying is the science and practice of recording and setting out the exact measurements of man-made and natural features of the earth's surface.
Land surveying is said by many historians to be the second oldest profession in the world, dating back to ancient times in Egypt, Babylon, Greece and Rome with the establishment of cities and kingdoms and having to determine land ownership.
Historians further believe that early precision surveying techniques originated in Egypt, with the Great Pyramid of Giza which was built in 2700 BC being an amazing feat and proof of their skill as they had no modern surveying equipment.
What is GIS?
Briefly, GIS is computer software and information providing a visual representation of data where software is used to capture, manipulate, analyse, display and view geographical data such that users can search specific geographical information in a specified locality.
Without accurate boundaries and positioning of geographical features as determined by land surveyors, GIS simply would not exist, or would be a case of thumb-sucking and many more wars!
What is the point of all this data?
GIS is a valuable tool for the Cartographer requiring accurate data to produce specialized maps to depict the relationship between different elements; don't be fooled into thinking that Google Maps can provide the same results, GIS is a whole different ball game!
A prime example is where GIS is used for crime mapping, an excellent tool helping crime fighters pinpoint areas they need to focus on; it minimizes victimization and helps the police or security companies forecast times and the types of crime in different neighbourhoods.
GIS further gives real time data to emergency responders about geographical layouts as well as possible protest actions which are becoming the norm here of late!
Informed Business Decisions
GIS is an excellent tool to use when making business decisions as all data captured has attributes such as demographics which can assist in determining a viable site for a restaurant or hotel, shopping mall, school and so forth.
It is essential for town and regional planning, engineering, conservation and many other projects, by improving communication between these various disciplines working on the same project.
Saying goodbye to GIS as a career
I shared my very My first ever HIVE BLOG POST challenge - What is a GIS Technician? just over two weeks ago in a challenge set by @jaynie, but thought it appropriate to write a more in-depth post outlining the uses of GIS in the changing world we're finding ourselves in.
Although I said goodbye to it as a career, GIS is a tool I still use from time to time as it's really useful for us in the tourism industry.
Sadly the implementation of the system is failing in many local authorities in our country for various reasons; mainly due to political appointees who lack the skill and vision, so we still have a long way to go.
There are many online GIS providers who offer software and maps at no cost; do your own research for relevant data, or take a peek at ESRI if you'd like to learn more about this exciting field.
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Original Content by @lizelle
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