GIS Technologies: Business and Social Impact

20 December, 2021


GIS technology has rapidly evolved over the years. Businesses are now using it to take decisions faster and more efficiently. Learn more!

The vast technological evolution has led to the development of new concepts such as smart cities, spatial analysis and smart planning. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are becoming more and more an integral part of these concepts. GIS technology has rapidly evolved over the years. Within the realm of geographic information technologies, there are three major components: Geographic Informa­tion Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Sys­tems (GPS), and Remote Sensing (RS).

GIS systems integrate hardware, software and data to capture, manage, analyze and represent geographic data, combined with all forms of referenced information. They allow users to understand geographic data more easily by visualization, question and reveal relationships, patterns and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports and charts. Taking decisions based on geography is fundamental to instinctive human thinking. A GIS system is, therefore, a technological tool for compre­hending geography and taking intelligent decisions.

A Global Positioning System (GPS) is a navigation system that uses satellites and algorithms to synchronize location, velocity and time data for air, sea and land travel.

Remote Sensing (RS) detects and measures the characteristics of an area by measuring reflected solar radiation. The use of satellite or aerial imagery helps scientists track down changes on earth and gather valuable information.

Businesses are now using GIS to take decisions faster and more efficiently. They try to gain a competitive advantage by providing answers to the classic questions (Where? When? Why?) for their consumers or utilizing these answers to improve the quality of the services they offer. GIS data helps in building better informed and educated business stakeholders. Where? For example, where is the nearest Electric Vehicle Charging Station? When? For example, at which time of the day (3x8h) we have the higher electricity consumption?

Why? For example, why specific items items are not sold in a super­market? Is it related to its location?

Location is at the heart of information, which, in combination with multi-dimensional attributes, drives better, faster and smarter deci­sions. Geospatial technologies provide the framework for collecting and managing data from the perspective of a smart decision.

Some more examples of GIS technology being used to provide solu­tions are:

(a) Urban Planning and Land Registers: GIS has given the tools to government departments to record and assess land information and, at the same time, make it publicly available over the internet. The use of GIS Data and software makes decisions for urban development easier and more accurate. Questions like “Does the development have an environmental impact?”, “Does it require a road network expansion?”, and “Are geographical regulations fulfilled within the framework of Development Plan Policies?” can now be addressed through a GIS System

(b) Real Estate: GIS has changed the game in the Real Estate indus­try. Professionals are now able to perform high-end Market Analysis using GIS technologies. Parcel valuation information can now be analyzed in order to show or define land prices per area

(c) Fintech: The Fintech sector is now integrating GIS infrastructure into its core, to allow faster decisions based on location. Fintech institutions are using GIS to record information for their clients and to promote financial plans that fit their customers’ needs and areas. The use of geospatial information, in combination with a what-if-analysis, helps the strategic planning process. Various geographic factors are examined, such as infrastructure and economic growth, and how they may affect the success of a project.

In all the above examples, analyzing data based on location and facts/behaviours reveals patterns that can be interpreted and used in forecasting scenarios and smart business decisions. Spatial analy­sis is the added key factor that allows professionals in all business sectors to drill down into information and produce scenarios of potential results.

The whole new concept of Smart Cities is heavily based on GIS technologies. The role of geospatial technology in smart cities focusing on Green Development is extremely important. Software-based solutions around smart infrastructure lead to smart deci­sions, thus smart cities. For example, Smart Metering allows elec­tricity authorities to record live consumption data and present them through GIS applications. Smart Parking Sensors enable drivers to know parking availability near their location.

Issues like improved urban design are driving cities to better plan for the future. GIS enables planners and architects to collaborate across teams. The use of state-of-the-art GIS systems supports scenario planning and impact assessment. GIS enables the digital transformation of the city towards a more sustainable future. In addition, applications based on location and forecasting, such as hazard prediction tools and environmental assessments, have been developed using GIS infrastructure. Environmental analysis, using smart maps and sensors, gives scientists the most accurate infor­mation regarding several aspects of environmental conditions. It is of great importance that GIS technologies are being used in feasi­bility studies to evaluate the environmental impact of huge develop­ments like skyscrapers, power stations, etc.


The trend towards cloud computing and real-time online informa­tion has enabled GIS technology to become a platform relevant to almost every human being. As the world faces problems with an expanding population, loss of nature, and pollution, GIS will play an increasingly important role in how we understand and address these issues and provide a critical means for communicating solu­tions using the common language of mapping. The development of web GIS Solutions and Cloud platforms have made it easy to store geospatial data. This allows users to produce and access this data on the go from anywhere.

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) with location and geospatial information is the way forward. Combin­ing the power of Machine Learning with Spatial Data Analysis has led to GeoAI, which now empowers a new, smarter and efficient way of infrastructure planning.

NetU Consultants Ltd (NetU) has developed significant experience with Geographical Information Systems over the years. Some of the most significant government projects containing GIS elements have been implemented by NetU.

The Town Planning and Housing Department “Ippodamus” project is a major GIS project implemented by NetU. The system provides the means and functions of updating information and making it publicly available, interacting with multiple public and state stakeholders. Web Applications with embedded maps provide information to the public regarding development plans and planning zones, allowing users to process electronic applications for development purposes.

The Department of Lands and Surveys’ DLS Portal Project, another project implemented by NetU, eliminates time-consuming proce­dures and enables GIS data sharing at a national and European level, by providing REST services, e-applications and integrated interactive map viewers. Users are able to download data with the use of geo­processing services and INSPIRE Services available on the INSPIRE Geoportal. The DLS Portal implementation could be considered as good practice for implementing similar projects relevant to the shar­ing of spatial data.

Concluding, it is imperative to understand the significance that Geographical information nowadays have in our daily lives. It’s eve­rywhere. Undoubtedly it is located at the epicenter of any new trend either making the distance between geographies seem immaterial or making such sense which actually makes it equally critical with the existence of the information itself. It’s because of this criticality, that GIS technologies are here to stay and improve our quality of life day.