1000 Applications of GIS – Check how GIS is being applied in your Industry

Listed below are some GIS applications. You will be amazed at how many you haven’t heard of yet:

From over 56 industries, this guide of 1000 GIS applications will open your mind to our amazing planet and its inter-connectivity.

We are starting with the first 10 industries


1. Agriculture GIS Applications

1. Precision Farming – Harvesting more bushels per acre while spending less on fertilizer using precision farming and software. (SST Software)

2. Disease Control – Combating the spread of pests through by identifying critical intervention areas and efficient targeting control interventions.

3. Swiss Alps Farming – Cultivating south-facing slopes in the Swiss Alps using aspect data because it shelters from cold and dry winds which is critical to successful crop growth.

4. 3D Scanners for Biomass – Measuring with laser accuracy 3D biomass using the FARO scanner. (FARO Scanner 3D Measurements)

5. Real-time Crop Yields – Shifting to real-time crop monitoring and targeted, automated responses with drones and precision watering sensors.

6. Current Food Security – Safeguarding food insecure populations by establishing underlying causes through satellite, mobile-collected and GIS data storage. (World Food Programme Food Security)

7. Agri-tourism – Navigating through crop mazes with GPS receivers in the developing field of agritourism. (GPS Crop Mazes)

8. Plant Hardiness – Defining distinct boundaries in which plants are capable of growing as defined by climatic conditions.

9. Machine Performance – Logging geographic coordinates of agricultural machinery in a farm field to better understand the spatially variability cost of field operation and machinery performance.

10. Future Food Demand – Diagnosing the future food demand and planning how to fulfil the needs of a growing and increasingly affluent population. (Feeding the World Story Map)

11. Crop Assimilation Model – Simulating soil, water and crop processes to better understand crop productivity and monitoring using the Crop Assimilation Model tool in GRASS GIS.

12. Water Stress – Balancing the ratio of local withdrawal (demand) over the available water (supply). (World Resources Institute’s Water Stress Map)

13. Historical Agricultural Land – Plotting the historical and future farming trends served. (World Bank Agricultural Land Use)

14. Hunger Map – Raising awareness about global hunger and places that are in need. (FAO Hunger Map)

15. Agromap – Breaking down primary food crops by sub-national administrative districts and aggregating by crop production, area harvested and crop yields. (FAO Agromap)

16. Crop Resilience to Climate Change – Adapting to climate change and shifting weather patterns by promote the continued health of your fields.

17. Crop Productivity – Calibrating crop productivity using indices like Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to estimate global crop productivity. (Satellite Image Corporation AgroWatch Green Vegetation Index)

18. Erosion-Productivity Impact Calculator (EPIC) – Prioritizing cropland conservation program implementations through “Model Simulation of Soil Loss, Nutrient Loss, and Change in Soil Organic Carbon Associated with Crop Production”.

19. Agriculture Capability – Classifying the varying potential for agricultural production using the Canadian Land Inventory. (Canadian Land Inventory)

20. Ranch Pasture Management – Collecting soils types, fence lines, roads and other data for better management for more meaningful reports and maps.

21. Agricultural Pollution – Quantifying the impacts on climate and the environment from agricultural pollution.

22. Agriculture Revenue – Determining the Effective Opportunity Cost relating to deforestation and potential agricultural revenue. (IDRISI GeOSIRIS for REDD)

23. Irrigation – Capturing irrigation infrastructure for land management decisions more than two-thirds of the world’s freshwater withdrawals are for irrigating crops.

24. Farm Preservation – Establishing farm priority zones by analyzing the local farming landscape and constructing criteria for high-quality farming areas.

25. Versatile Soil Moisture Budget – Simulating soil moisture conditions of cropland areas taking into account evapotranspiration, rainfall, runoff and other factors.

26. Drought – Minimizing the impact of drought by analyzing the spatial distribution of rainfall and real-time sensors like SMAP, SMOS and synthetic aperture radar.

27. CropScape – Estimating acreage of crop types and spatial distribution using satellite imagery with National Agricultural Statistics Services. (USDA NASS CropScape)

28. Crop Forecasting – Predicting crop yields using NDVI, weather, soil moisture, soil types and other parameters.

29. Organic Farming – Managing various sources of data for organic farming permits including tillage history, field inputs, crop rotations, and pest management measures on a field-by-field basis.

30. Agricultural Non-Point Source (AGNPS) Model – Predicting the effects of agriculture on water quality using Agricultural Non-Point Source pollution model in MapWindow

31. Drainage Ditches – Tracing farm field drainage lines using stereo imagery in MicroImages TNTMips. (Drainage Lines)

32. Length of Growing Period – Meeting the full evapotranspiration demands of crops when average temperatures are greater or equal to 5°C and precipitation plus moisture store in the soil exceed half the potential evapotranspiration.


2. Astronomy/Planetary GIS Applications

33. Asteroids – Gazing the sky and tracking asteroids with NASA’s bolide events map. (NASA’s Bolide Events)

34. Mapping Mars with MOLA – Start mapping a whole entire new planet using NASA’s MOLA. (USGS Planetary GIS Web Server – PIGWAD)

35. Mars Terrain – Going for a spin on the rugged terrain of Mars using data captured by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) instrument on the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS). (Mars Terrain)

36. Mars Rover Landing – Examining how to landing the Mars Rover safely with operations criteria including latitude for solar power, soil softness, slopes using laser altimetry, dustiness, rockiness and a landing footprint.

37. Water Flow on Mars – Hillshading the Mars Digital Elevation Model to augment legibility and understand where rivers may have flowed and oceans flourished. (Mars Water Flow)

38. Satellite Orbits – Gazing the sky for satellites and even programming satellites for image acquisition. (Satellite Map)

39. Magnetic Fields – Investigating magnetic field lines in 3D with international geomagnetic field maps.

40. Astrogeology – Delivering planetary mapping to the international science community in public domain – from planetary topology to lunar geology. (Astrogeology Science Centre)

41. UFO Sightings – Speculating UFO sightings with proportional symbols with over 90,000 reports dating back to 1905. (UFO Sightings Map)

42. Light Pollution – Recognizing the artificial light introduced by humans in the night sky and how it interferes with the observation of stars. (NOAA’s VIIRS data) / Light Pollution Map)

43. Mars in Google Earth – Searching for Martian landmarks with Google Earth’s “Live from Mars” layer.

44. International Space Station – Tracking the real-time location of the International Space Station (ISS) in ArcGIS Online Data.

45. Venus – Mapping the altimetry, shaded relief and geology of Venus. (Venus Map)

46. Magnetic Declination – Positioning with the magnetic declination, a varying angle from a true geographic north using NOAA National Geophysical Data Center 2015 data and the Magnetic Declination QGIS Plugin.

47. Gravity Anomaly – Understanding our Earth’s gravity by mapping the unusual concentrations of mass in a different regions on Earth. (The Geoid)

48. NASA Visible Earth – Cataloging images and animations of our home planet in the electromagnetic spectrum from various sensors. (NASA Visible Earth)

49. Tycho – Mapping Tycho, the youngest moon crater.

50. Milky Way – Surveying the inner part of the Milky Way Galaxy with GLIMPSE (Galactic Legacy Infrared Midplane Extraordinaire)


3. Archaeology GIS Applications

51. Lost Cities – Revealing lost cities in the ground and their forgotten past using ground penetrating radar and infrared sensors. (LiDAR uncovers lost cities)

52. Archaeological Survey – Tackling a huge problem archaeologists face every day – collecting physical locations of their excavation findings from a wealth of sites.

53. Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities – Archiving, monitoring and managing archaeological sites to avoid impacting, factor cost for site mitigation – developed by the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) and the World Monuments Fund (WMF). (MEGA Geodatabase)

54. Geographic Text Analysis – Incorporating a semi-automated exploration of large written texts combining Natural Language Processing techniques, Corpus Linguistics and GIS.

55. QGIS Archaeology Tools – Computerizing the archaeological community with their record keeping with the pyArchInit QGIS plugin.

56. Mediterranean Landscape Dynamics – Modeling surface process change and landscape evolution to better understand the long-term interactions of humans and landscapes in the Mediterranean using GRASS GIS. (Mediterranean Landscape Dynamics)

57. Preliminary Site Investigation – Searching ancient maps for buildings, cemeteries, roads and fences as these sites present important clues to archaeological sites. (Archaeology Site Investigation)

58. Stone Tools – Characterizing geographic features suitable for making stone tools and clay pottery such as lithic materials, water resources, stream hydrology with geologic controls like bedrock outcrops and drainage basin floodplains.

59. Viewshed – Scoping out a site by determining what is within eyesight considering all prehistoric conditions associated to that viewshed.

60. Archaeological Site Prediction – Connecting favorable slope, aspect, geology, hydrology and distance to water using the Multiple Criteria Evaluation (MCE) to predict archaeological sites.

61. Heritage Preservation – Coordinating field work and obtaining risk to identify hazards towards paleontology heritage.

62. 3D Archaeology – Rendering accurate and efficient 3D recordings of archaeological heritage sites, in particular archaeological excavations with aerial imagery and 3D environments. (3D Archaeology)

63. Shovel Test Pits – Logging transects, shovel test pits and other recordings when they visit potential locations to conduct field investigations.

64. Predicting Dinosaur Tracks – Getting the inside track on understanding exactly where dinosaurs once roamed the Earth with vegetation coverage, slope, aspect and proximity to landslides.


4. Architecture GIS Applications

65. Line of Sight – Planning high-rise buildings so they don’t obstruct the view of the mountains in Portland using line of sight.

66. Exposure to Noise – Orchestrating urban mobility plans with special consideration for the impact environmental noise using OrbisGIS. (Urban Noise)

67. Development Planning – Making citizens happy through smart development planning and understanding the bigger picture.

68. Crowd Simulation – Mastering the collective dynamics of interacting objects in urban phenomena at the scale of individual households, people, and units of real estate and at time-scales approaching “real time”. (Crowd Simulation)

69. Solar Exposure – Harvesting light to assess the suitability of installing solar (photovoltaic) panels on roofs using 3D city models and geometric information such as the tilt, orientation and area of the roof. (Bentley Map Copenhagen City)

70. City Engine – Assessing feasibility and plan implementation using Esri’s City Engine improving urban planning, architecture, and overall design.

71. Pedestrian Behavior – Discerning the movements of pedestrians and urban behavior throughout through a plaza in Copenhagen.

72. Shadow Analysis – Diagnosing how much shadow will be casted in the pre-construction phase onto its surrounding using Bentley Map. (3D Shadow Analysis)

73. Parking Availability – Orchestrating a parking available by collecting the percent of spaces occupied versus search time.

74. Integration of GIS and BIM – Operating a facility with BIM (building information modeling) because of its ability to analyze information and integrate data from different systems.

75. Tangible Landscape – Experimenting with the potential impact of different building configurations with an easy-to-use 3D sketching tool. (Tangible Landscape)

76. Geodesign – Conceptualizing building plans with focus on stakeholder participation and collaboration to closely follow natural systems.

77. Propagation of Noise in Urban Environments – Modelling 3D data to answer how urban citizens are harmed by noise pollution, and how to mitigate it with noise barriers.

78. Space Utilization – Augmenting NASA’s Langley Research Center by applying optimization algorithms to space utilization. (Space Utilization)

79. Ordnance Survey Geovation – Pioneering location innovation in the United Kingdom through Geovation – the collaboration, exchange of ideas and inspiring innovation. (Ordnance Survey Geovation)


5. Arctic / Antarctica GIS Applications

80. Quantarctica – Familiarizing yourself with Antarctic with the free, open-source source collection of geographical datasets. (Quantarctica)

81. Exclusive Economic Zones – Carving out boundaries in the Arctic – Canada, Norway, Russia, Denmark (via Greenland) and the United States are limited to their economic adjacent to their coasts while all waters beyond is considered international water.

82. Shipping Route Shortcuts – Transporting goods through the Arctic passage because of melting ice in the North Pole.

83. Sea Ice Motion – Maintaining an inventory of sea ice extents snapshots from NOAA’s National Snow and Ice Data Center. (Sea Ice Motion)

84. Aspect – Using aspect and incoming solar radiation data to understand how glaciers accumulate on the poleward side.

85. Subglacial Lakes – Mapping lakes under glaciers – isolated from the outside world for up to 35 million years, and may be final refuges for life, the like of which exists nowhere else on Earth. (Subglacial Lakes)

86. Antarctic Digital Magnetic Anomaly Project (ADMAP) – Uncovering the tectonic evolution using near-surface magnetic anomaly data. (Antarctic Magnetic Anomaly)

87. Wildlife Tracking – Logging the species richness of marine mammals like whales, seals, walruses and narwhals and seabirds or waterfowl in the Arctic.

88. Ice Sheet Modelling – Bringing together data on Antarctica’s ice sheet surface, thickness and boundary using surface air temperature, accumulation and geothermal heat flux with ALBMAP.

89. Fish – Showing the probability of occurrence and observations for fish species – from Atlantic cod to Walleye Pollock. (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources)

90. Arctic Research Projects – Displaying research projects, showing available data and exploring possible collaborations. (Arctic Research Projects)

91. Arctic Ocean Floor – Sculpting the Arctic Ocean with the sonic depth finder and discovering dynamic with trenches, ridges and abyssal plains.

92. Arctic’s Geology – Interpreting the geology of the Arctic using enhanced magnetic data, Landsat imagery and topographic data. (Arctic Geology)

93. COMNAP Facilities – Mapping out the COMNAP facilities in Antarctica that currently supports a range of scientific research. (COMNAP Facilities)

94. Polar Bear – Keeping counts of the most vulnerable populations of polar bear (due to climate change) by comparing two satellite images over time.

95. Search and Rescue – Lunging into search and rescue operations using the Safety and Operability Index which calculates risk based on factors such as sea ice, visibility, temperature, distance from SAR resources.

96. Environmental Risk – Assessing the environmental vulnerability of marine resources with respect to oil spill as external stressor. (Arctic Environmental Risk)

97. Polar Ice Melt – Monitoring the polar ice melt using satellites like GOCE and GRACE that measures how much mass is on Earth. (GOCE and GRACE Satellites)


6. Aquatics GIS Applications

98. Stream Order – Defining stream size based on a hierarchy of tributaries the Strahler Index (or Horton-Strahler Index) – an important indicator of fisheries and aquatic habitat.

99. Fish Habitat Models – Connecting fish species with their habitat using habitat suitability indexes.

100. Whale Tracking – Stalking pigmy killer, sperm, beaked and false killer whales in the Pacific Ocean with online mapping applications. (Whale Tracking)

101. Global Shark Tracker – Monitoring sharks recovery rates with acoustic tags allowing detection in multiple dimensions. (OCEARCH)

102. Fish Eradication – Eradicating Northern pike which negatively affect local trout fishery and the economy by tracking their movements with GPS. (Northern Pike Eradication)

103. Spawning Sites – Drawing spawning site boundaries for migratory fish that are known to release eggs.

104. Hydro-Acoustics – Listening to echoes with hydro-acoustics for the Crean Lake Hydro-Acoustics project – capturing lake depth, fish class, fish stock numbers, habitat preference related to temperature. (Crean Lake Hydro-Acoustics)

105. Mercury in Stream – Grasping the origin of mercury – which are contaminants to fish tissue – by studying the landscape such as soils and humus.

106. Fish Habitat Conservation Areas – Fine-tuning fish habitat conservation areas by knowing the big picture of fish distribution.

107. Overfishing – Maintaining sustainable fish population levels with satellite monitoring of sea surface temperature and ocean colors (because they are indicative of specific fish species).

108. Stress Monitoring – Correlating fish stresses from the local environment such as heat stress from the removal of trees along a stream.

109. SCIMAP – Identifying locations of diffuse pollution risk for polluted water and aquatic habitat using SCIMAP. (Diffuse Pollution Risk Mapping)


7. Aviation GIS Applications

110. Live Air Traffic – Turning your computer into air traffic control center using Flight Radar 24. (Flight Radar 24)

111. Airplane Identification – Pointing your phone to the sky and identifying airplanes above you using Flight Radar 24.

112. World’s Busiest Airports – Surfing the world’s top 25 busiest airports with the Esri Global Crossroads Story Map. (World’s Busiest Airports)

113. Voronoi Diagram – Discovering that Mataveri Airport in Easter Island is the most remote airport in the world with the Voronoi airport proximity map. (Voronoi Diagram)

114. Obstruction Evaluation – Securing safe take-offs and landings with the Federal Aviation Agency’s (FAA) vertical obstruction database

115. Flight Path – Simulating flight paths integrated with elevation data, imagery and other spatial data using Falcon View.

116. Search for Flight MH370 – Crowd-sourcing the search for flight MH370 with satellite imagery provided by DigitalGlobe. (Airplane Search Crowdsourcing)

117. Airspace Builder – Visualizing the air available to aircraft to fly in with 3D volumes using NASA’s World Wind. (NASA World Wind)

118. Air Traffic Control – Fine-tuning air traffic control with a common operational picture for security vulnerability and land use permitting.

119. Drone No-fly Zones – Delineating drone no-fly zones where it’s illegal to fly such as near airports and military bases.

120. Aeronautical Charts – Scouting out best routes, safe altitudes and navigation aids in the sky with aeronautical charts.

121. Runway Approach Zone Encroachment – Pinpointing obstructions in the approach zone of a runway using detailed elevation data to ensure no collisions FAA Safety Analysis.

122. Airport Sound Exposure – Assessing the relationship between aircraft-generated noise levels and land uses, noise receptors, and demographics in the airport environs.

123. Fly Through – Cruising the high altitudes with interactive 3D viewing and fly-throughs with Landserf. (Landserf)

124. Flight Simulator – Becoming a pilot in the cockpit with three-dimensional perspective views of an area by combined with elevation and imagery. (Online Flight Simulator)

125. Air Space Review – Automating the dissemination and portrayal of Special Activity Airspace information via OGC Web Services. (Envitia Special Air Space)


8. Automobile Integration GIS Applications

126. Toyota Vehicle Crowd Sourcing – Piecing together hyper-precise and up-to-date maps using Toyota vehicle’s GPS and camera. (Toyota Automobile Mapping)

127. In-Vehicle Usage – Monitoring driving habits like speed, sudden acceleration and pushing hard on the brakes for insurance underwriting.

128. GeoFencing – Immobilizing cross border travel with geofencing (virtual barriers) – perfect for car sharing and rental programs.

129. Self-Driving Vehicles – Sitting back and relaxing while Google’s autonomous car does all the work equipped with LiDAR, GPS, an inertial unit and sophisticated software. (Google’s Self-Driving Car)

130. GPS Receivers – Nurturing mapping technology as it’s almost standard to have a GPS receiver and a monitor with all the latest maps.

131. Waze Real-Time Driving – Saving time and money on your commute as drivers share real-time traffic information and road alerts with each other with Waze. (Waze Live Map)

132. Estimated Travel Time – Locking in your destination and getting live updates for estimated travel time.

133. Morgan Freeman’s Voice – Enjoying the calm, soothing voice of Morgan Freeman as he delivers directions from your GPS navigation system. (Morgan Freeman GPS)


9. Banking GIS Applications

134. Market Share – Examining branch locations, competitor locations and demographic characteristics to identify areas worthy of expansion or determine market share in Maptitude. (Market Share)

135. ATM Machine – Filling in market and service gaps by understanding where customers, facilities, and competitors are with address locating, database management and query tools.

136. World Bank Economic Statistics – Slicing and dicing raw financial data from the World Bank. (World Bank Data)

137. Merger and Acquisitions – Profiling and finding opportunities to gain and build where customers are with market profiling

138. Supply and Demand – Identifying under-served areas and analyzing your competitor’s market.

139. Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) – Fulfilling the obligations to loan in areas with particular attention to low- and moderate-income households – using GIS to understand spatial demographics. (Bank of America uses MapInfo for CRA)

140. Mobile Banking – Capturing locations where existing mobile transaction occur and assisting in mobile security infrastructure.


10. Business & Commerce GIS Applications

141. Fleet Management – Staying in route and solving scheduling problems with fleet management.

142. Augmented Reality – Augmenting reality with commercial use in mind – such as advertising and restaurant reviews. (Google Glass)

143. Direct Marketing – Revitalizing selling strategies by reaching out to customers directly with locational intelligence.

144. Drive-Time Analysis – Determining a trade area based on how long a customer must drive to get to the store – factoring in street speed limits, traffic volumes, and other impedance.

145. Internet of Things – Improving efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit through a network of physical objects such as devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange information with one another.

146. Market Share Analysis – Optimizing the locations of facilities so the allocated demand is maximized in the presence of competitors using tools like location-allocation in ArcGIS. (Location-Allocation Tool)

147. Nearest Location – Resolving the nearest gas station, restaurants or coffee shop using GPS-based positioning and geocoded business data.

148. Property Appraisal – Appraising residential properties using Census data and finding your property online through interactive property assessment viewers.

149. Internet Geocoding – Mapping and analyzing user generated geocoded data to get a glimpse of what internet users (in the aggregate) think about particular places. (Floating Sheep)

150. Geocoding Businesses – Pinpointing anything to everything from restaurants, banks and donut shops with a list of addresses.

151. Reverse Geocoding – Geocoding in reverse; taking locations from a map and listing their addresses.

152. Daytime Population – Marketing products effectively with detailed daytime population demographics for an area reflecting who works in that area as opposed to residential demographics.

153. SoLoMo – Advertising through social, local and mobile mediums through location and making presence more known. (SoLoMo)

154. Tax Havens – Sheltering tax through tax havens then putting it all on a map. (Open Corporates)

155. Branding – Increasing credibility and increasing sales with prospective clients, vendors and media by conveying complex data to increase sales. (GeoBranding)

156. Desire Lines – Plotting desire lines showing stores that serves customers. (Origin and Destination – QGIS Oursins Plugin)

157. Commercial Establishments – Updating commercial establishment using gvSIG Mobile and a local databases. (Commercial Establishment Database)

158. Supply Chain – Finding which supply chains are vulnerable to better plan for interruptions (Boundless Supply Chain)

159. Integrated Freight Network Model – Integrating highly detailed information about shipping costs, transfer costs, traffic volumes and network interconnectivity properties in a GIS-based platform. (Integrated Freight Network Model)

160. Capital Projects – Listing all the capital projects with different stages of completion.

161. Gravity Models – Determining the likelihood of customers patronizing a particular store based on the store’s proximity, competition, and other factors.

162. Employee Travel Times – Modelling travel times in urban networks for employee travel times.

163. Store Openings – Historicizing a company’s store openings. (IKEA Store Openings)

164. Foursquare – Recommending 50 million users search for restaurants, recommend bars, and check-in around the world with a Mapbox custom branded map. (Foursquare)

165. Infrastructure Expansion – Comparing historical data to current conditions with satellite data from Astro Digital. (Astro Digital – Infrastructure Expansion)

(Credit: GISGeography.com)

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How do YOU use GIS? How do YOU think GIS can be used?

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