**Components of GIS—>>
Hardware comprises the equipment needed to support the many activities needed for geospatial analysis ranging from data collection to data analysis. The central piece of equipment is the workstation, which runs the GIS software and is the attachment point for ancillary equipment. Data collection efforts can also require the use of a digitizer for conversion of hard copy data to digital data and a GPS data logger to collect data in the field. The use of handheld field technology is also becoming an important data collection tool in GIS. With the advent of web mapping, web servers have also become an important piece of equipment.
Different types of software are important. Central to this is the GIS application package. Such software is essential for creating, editing and analyzing spatial and attribute data, therefore these packages contain a myriad of geospatial functions inherent to them. Extensions or add-ons are software that extends the capabilities of the GIS software package. Component GIS software is the opposite of application software. Component GIS seeks to build software applications that meet a specific purpose and thus are limited in their spatial analysis capabilities. Utilities are stand-alone programs that perform a specific function. For example, a file format utility that converts from on type of GIS file to another. There is also web GIS software that helps serve data and interactive maps through Internet browsers.
Data is the core of any GIS. There are two primary types of data that are used in GIS: vector and raster data. A geodatabase is a database that is in some way referenced to locations on the earth. Geodatabases are grouped into two different types: vector and raster. Vector data is spatial data represented as points, lines and polygons. Raster data is cell-based data such as aerial imagery and digital elevation models. Coupled with this data is usually data known as attribute data. Attribute data generally defined as additional information about each spatial feature housed in tabular format. Documentation of GIS datasets is known as metadata. Metadata contains such information as the coordinate system, when the data was created, when it was last updated, who created it and how to contact them and definitions for any of the code attribute data.
Well-trained GIS professionals knowledgeable in spatial analysis and skilled in using GIS software are essential to the GIS process. There are three factors to the people component: education, career path, and networking. The right education is key; taking the right combination of classes. Selecting the right type of GIS job is important. A person highly skilled in GIS analysis should not seek a job as a GIS developer if they haven’t taken the necessary programming classes. Finally, continuous networking with other GIS professionals is essential for the exchange of ideas as well as a support community.
**Components of GIS—>>