GIS for the Common Person

This CNN story shows that geographic information systems (GIS) are reaching deeper into the populace.

Having some experience using GIS for transportation planning and just generally screwing around with maps, this latest trend is specatacular! Many feliciations to Google and Google Maps for coming out with a beautiful map interface.

Of course, the linked CNN story doesn’t quite come out and say that the technical ability to take a list of addresses and turn them into a geocoded graphical layer (i.e. stick them on the map) is not exactly plug-and-play. But it’s getting better!

My job provides me with access to ESRI ArcGIS which is the most powerful GIS program available. Unfortunately, it’s also the most expensive, unaffordable by persons who want to merely tinker. The trend of smaller GIS products coming to the market will make it easier for people to know and understand the power of maps. (it will also teach them how easy it is to manipulate data to represent what you want, with a map. NEVER trust a map on TV)

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