Essay: Role of Geoinformatics in 21st Century Society

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Role of Geoinformatics in 21st Century Society

Geoinformatics can be defined as a science that addresses the setbacks of geosciences and correlated branches of engineering by developing and making use of information science infrastructure. It brings together geospatial modeling and analysis, design of information systems, improvement of geospatial records, and interaction between human and computer as defined by Laurini & Thompson (1992). In trying to accomplish this it applies the networking technologies that are both wireless and wired. A number of activities are involved in geoinformatics these include gathering, amassing, scrutinizing, envisaging, interpreting, allocating, modeling and making use of geographically referenced information. In most instances such information is spatially referenced.

This branch of science plays three major tasks the first one being developing and managing records of geodata. The second function involves modeling and analyzing the data and the third task is to develop and integrate computer tools and software for the preceding two tasks. There is a relation between geoinformatics and geocomputation, it also relates to the advancement and application of geographic information systems sometimes referred to as Decision Support Systems. Geoinformatics has several branches which include cartography, web mapping, spatial analysis, remote sensing, photogrammetry, global navigation satellite systems, geographic information systems and geodesy.

The origin of geoinformatics can be traced back to the early 1970's when it came up to act as a periphery science of informatics and geology. There has been gradual development in geoinformatics especially during the 21st century (Marka 2009). It has played a significant role in the advancement of information sciences through the contributions it makes to geological information manifestation. There has been a universal acceptance of this new branch of geology since it has a broader field in terms of research as compared to mathematical geology which centers on mathematical modeling. The establishment of geoinformatics section in the Geological Society of Japan brought about a review in the developing process of geoinformatics. In order for geoinformatics to contribute to the additional development of geology then there is a need to expand its methods and objectives, this should be done in line with the swiftly varying information milieu in the future.

Application of geoinformatics in the 21st century

Leick (1990) and National Research Council (1993) observes that geoinformatics benefits quite a number of fields in the present century and thus is a very important branch of science; its existence has not only proved crucial but also timely. Developing an area can be quite challenging since there is the desire for such developments to be sustainable and geoinformatics-based information technology has proven significant in such cases. Through geoinformatics it is possible to generate a sustainable plan for an area before developing it this will ensure that the plan presented is appropriate to the topography and to the productive potential of the area with regard to the local resources (Kumar & Singh 2003). This ensures the sustenance of the local production level with no decline in due course. This is possible since it is possible to classify land capability, and to predict land dilapidation hazards such as soil erosion (Jha & Singh 2008). It can thus be stated that geoinformatics technology acts as a tool that aids the decision making process in land and water management. A part from assisting in proper planning it also helps in managing natural resources at the micro level by ensuring that natural resources are used optimally. This is done through the formulation of systems for sensible resource use and management practices and creates land based action plans which can be adopted by the local communities easily.

It is usually challenging to give accurate directions to a driver since there is a lot of ambiguity that arises when an individual attempts to do this, which led to the discovery of in-car navigation systems. These navigation systems automatically generate route directions and communicate this to the driver which is made possible by geoinformatics. The route directions are derived from some available data which is digested through a series of processes before the feedback is given to the user. In order to utilize such service the user gives his or her location through geopositioning technologies such as GPS and at the same time makes a route or direction request to get to a particular location. The initially provided location is used in the determination of the route in order to institute a point to start. In order to establish the route to follow within the network then the network entity must be available to the route entity. The network and route entities are then presented via a visualization entity. The last step is to present the visualization back to the user which is what is used as a means for navigation; geoinformatics thus plays a very important part in the human navigation system.

The other field that currently benefits from geoinformatics is that of virtual globe whose development has been made possible through the use of geoinformatics. Virtual globes are defined as a three dimensional software model of the earth or any other world these can be physical in nature or online. By using a virtual globe a user is capable of moving around the virtual environment freely as he or she can change the viewing position or angle conveniently. The other advantage that it has is that of representing a number of varied views on the earth's surface. Virtual globes have found use in general study or navigation.

The health of individuals and human services organization shares a task with others all over the world to assist people realize the highest standards of well-being both socially and physically and it is through geoinformatics that an individual is able to leverage scarce resources and proliferate the positive impact of gain to individuals, families and the society at large. Myers et al. (2000) states that the use of geoinformatics brings about an improvement in the understanding of the circumstances, what is required, and how to get involved with deterrence and alleviation strategies when indispensable. Geoinformatics acts as an analysis and organizational instrument that expand the effectiveness of an agency's response to rising demands and inadequate budgets. There are a number of cases that have been recorded with regard to the benefits of geoinformatics to public health such as empowering emergency response and hazards awareness campaigns.

Geoinformatics is also beneficial in managing gazetteer this can be for both local and national records. Gazetteer can be defined as a record of geographical information about places and locations, mountains, and rivers among others. Such information is used together with maps, operational as a directory to the topographical and formation position location information. Additionally, a gazetteer may have demographical information such as numeracy rates, population etc. Since such information needs proper recording, analysis, interpretation, and representation it is vital that a proper mechanism is put in place to do this and geoinformatics has proven useful. It has become easier to manage gazetteer through the use of geoinformatics which has led to the accurate handling of information which are useful for a regions planning and budgeting.

There are situations that require the recreation of what occurred during some event in nature this can be easily done through geoinformatics since it is much simpler and realistic to create computer models. Such computer models are used in carrying out experiments in an easier way than going out to carry the experiment repeatedly. Through computer models equations that were usually created by testing under natural setting are taken and put into computer programs where it is possible to speedily and effortlessly run them. The results of running such equations are then displayed to the user in a screen in the appropriate form. Since it is very inappropriate to suggest to anyone to carry out experiments in a natural environment in the current century, geoinformatics has come as a savior and those interested in reconstructing past geographical events can do that comfortably and with assurance that the information they gather is accurate. This also helps in predicting future trends by studying the past records which have been reconstructed in the computer models.

In the current digital battle space, geoinformatics is a fundamental element in the military decision-making practice. Geoinformatics technology is able to effectively integrate the enormous amounts of visual facts and figures and geospatial information generated by assorted sensors and imaging systems presently set up in defense applications. Yet, it is not just data integration realism that has put geoinformatics 'on the map' for the security intelligence community, but its prospective for brisk integration of data, data analysis and circulation of intricate spatial information. Geoinformatics is an important device for both the war-fighter and the decision maker. One of the most significant aspects linked with implementation of geoinformatics within a geospatial intelligence framework, is its capability to offer a common structure that gives access to data across the board. It gives everyone interested a chance to see vital information since it's made available to all. Singh (2009) observes that the commercial markets… [END OF PREVIEW]

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