From TRS, Intro to GIS
Geographic Information Systems is useful in a broad range of domains because users can acquire, display and organize layers of spatial and non-spatial data. GIS has been used, for example, in environmental conservation or population demographics, and is even used in more restrained areas such as military or government usages. GIS is also very commonly used in city related projects to access an urban problem or any form or urban development. In this case, I will elaborate on GIS and its applications and what they bring to the capital of Silicon Valley, San José, California. There are many situations in which GIS provides a clearer understanding of city related issues in the San José area, such as infrastructure inventory, sewer flow analysis, and emergency responses. Specific applications will now be accessed in more detail.
One of the applications GIS brings towards the San José community is providing a vector data on parks and recreation in the city boundaries. There are a multitude of maps available on the city’s website representing closed, open and developing green spaces in and around the city. I think this is a great way to use GIS, because maps under this tool can be modified to appeal to different audiences and provide essential information to citizens and/or “out of towners”.
Another very interesting application I discovered was the urban redevelopment projects in San José and how GIS provided in-depth maps on the various neighbourhoods or districts that will or who are currently under a process of renewal. Evidently, maps found on the website’s database range in a multitude of topics. Downtown project areas undergoing redevelopment, business districts, redevelopment of downtown housing, and industrial projects are all acquired, organized and displayed with the help of geographic information systems. The department of planning provides traditional GIS based maps and Google Earth/Maps related kmls on, for example, particular zoning areas (city limits), census blocks, and city council district maps. I believe these are very useful for observing the current urban structure and infrastructures of the San José area.
To conclude, GIS can have applications in many different sectors, and this short text provided an insight on what GIS can provide and benefit for a city and urban planning.