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Understanding GIS

GIS (or geographic information systems) are software that are built to store, analyze, and display geographic data. It operates on a system built on 5 pillars: Users, Hardware, Software, Data, and Analysis.

With GIS, users can solve a myriad of problems where location is a factor. Where should city planners put a new hospital or clinic? Where will election districts be drawn after a decennial census? Where will a hurricane make landfall, and how will that area respond to a major storm? What routes will make transportation companies more efficient? All of these questions and many more can be answered with the right data and the proper analysis.

Uses of GIS in Architecture

  • Line of sight (minimal interference to the environment)
  • Exposure to noise (consider impact to environmental noise)
  • Development planning (holistic urban development)
  • Crowd simulation (interaction of households, people, etc. in real time)
  • Solar exposure (use and orientation of solar/photovoltaic panels on roofs)
  • City engine (improve urban planning, architecture and overall design)
  • Pedestrian behavior (map possible movement of pedestrians and vehicles)
  • Shadow analysis (analyze predicted shadows of buildings)
  • Parking availability (comparing parking availability and search time for spaces)
  • Integration of GIS and BIM [building information modeling] (integrate data)
  • Tangible landscape (use of 3D sketching for building and landscape impacts)
  • Geodesign (following natural systems for enhanced stakeholder participation and collaboration)
  • Propagation of noise in urban environments (mitigation of noise pollution using noise barriers)


GIS Data - where to find it

When using data that you have not prepared yourself, carefully examine the data and the organization that produced it to assess if it is inaccurate, incomplete, or otherwise not usable. 

Search for more datasets online: gis free data

Last updated on Sep 28, 2023 10:27 AM