For years, data has been stored in file cabinets, basements and
employee’s heads in the form of institutional knowledge. This was not
necessarily a bad thing; the technology just was not available. Now that
the movement to a digital world has begun, the transition has seemed
slow at times. Having paper documents around is just the norm in an
everyday workflow. But what if the information is not directly in front
of you? Moving paper data to electronic databases has saved time and
money for private and public entities across the world.
Databases used in Geographic Information System (GIS) are the single
most important entity of the system. GIS databases use a technology to
relate to each other enabling the system to complete complex analysis
and queries. In order to keep up with the demand of data, maintenance
needs to be completed on these databases on a regular basis.
GIS uses data in the form of tables. These tables are then linked
physical geographic locations which come in points, lines, or polygons.
For example, a point on a map might look just like a point on a map to
the non-GIS person. But behind that point on the map might lie address,
parcel, or ownership data which is linked to that specific point. These
data tables are the backbone of GIS.
As long as the data is quality, meaning that it is properly created
from a reputable source, it is useable. The data is only as good as the
person who creates it. Taking time to make sure all fields are filled
in and that no data is lost in translation is necessary. GIS allows data
to be located in one centralized location and dispersed throughout the
Paper data and maps are becoming a thing of the past. Movement to a
digital world has begun and will save time and money in the long run.
Web-based applications and maps have begun to shape our world in ways
that have not yet been documented. This is a new phenomenon that relies
heavily on the data behind the application.
Without reliable data, GIS would not be able to achieve what it has in the short amount of time it has been around.