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GIS - merging with everyone's life Empty GIS - merging with everyone's life

Post  reena on Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:49 am

GIS - merging with everyone's life

THERE'S a silent revolution going on in the midst of much gloom in the field of Information Technology. It's a revolution that touches our lives in myriad ways- from the rates we pay for utility services to the quality of our roadways. It can help prevent famine, blight, and pestilence. It can influence the speed with which emergency vehicles react to our calls and how quickly criminals are put behind bars. It has played an influential role in the scheduling and fighting of wars and then rebuilding war-torn communities. It is being used for applications as far flung as finding offending taxpayers, developing pizza delivery routes, and setting up insurance rates. The basis for this silent revolution is a technology called Geographic Information Systems - or GIS.

GIS is a system of hardware, software and procedures designed for support, capture, management, manipulation, analysis, modeling and display of spatially referenced data, for solving complex planning and management problems.

Application areas

The application of GIS is vast. A person with the following background is an ideal candidate for learning and working in the GIS field.

*Natural resource management

*Environmental planning

*Local & municipal authorities

*Emergency management

*Military commands

*Transportation management

*Socio-Economic development

*Urban development

*Public utility works

*Business applications

Students of civil engineering, geography, geology, sociology, soil science, surveying, urban planning, and remote sensing can opt for this field. GIS facilitates students by providing better career opportunities in these fields and makes them acquainted with both conventional and digital environment subjects. Further, the increasing demand for latest GIS technology like Mobile Mapping, Internet GIS, Application Development, high-end GIS database structure and Virtual GIS is attracting students from electronic & communication, electrical, mechanical and computer engineering background to enter this field.

Study centres and qualification

The Institute of Remote Sensing at Anna University, Chennai, has a four-year engineering degree program (B.E) in Geo-informatics apart from masters programs in Remote Sensing and M.E in Geo- informatics. Students who have secured a higher second class in 10+2 can appear for the common entrance exam to be admitted into the undergraduate courses. Many institutes in India offer a postgraduate diploma in the subject and also in remote sensing.

The Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Dehradun has trained more than 4200 professionals in the field of remote sensing and GIS. The Centre for Spatial Information Technology in JNTU, Hyderabad is another professional body involved in GIS education. Many colleges like IIT Mumbai, IIT Kanpur, Roorkee University, REC Warangal offer GIS at the Masters level. Selection for these programmes is through a common entrance test and almost all institutes permit students from multi-disciplinary subjects for their Masters level programme.

However, some of the institutes take only students with an Electronic and Computer Science background, Geo Science and B.A/B.Sc in geography.

Apart from the regular courses, many institutes like the Indian Space Research organisation (ISRO), National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad, Survey Training Institute, Hyderabad, Geological Survey of India conduct short term and long-term courses and workshops at nominal fees.

Software available

Many GIS software packages are available in the market and of course the nature of how GIS works in a particular organisation is software dependent.

The most commonly used and high demand GIS packages are ArcInfo, ArcView, AutoCAD Map, MapInfo, Geomedia, CARIS GIS, SICAD and others.

Job opportunities

Many public and private companies employ GIS graduates at various levels. Public sector organisations like ISRO, NRSA, National Informatics Centre (NIC) and other governmental departments like urban developmental authorities and municipal bodies employ GIS trained personnel based on their requirements.

However, the percentage of jobs in private companies is higher than in the government departments.

One can also pursue research in the field as a number of research companies use the technology in different areas.

The different GIS

job levels are:

GIS digitisers/GIS operators

This is an entry-level job where the conversion of paper map into digital environment takes place using CAD related software. The minimum eligibility criterion is a diploma in any discipline with basic knowledge of CAD/GIS. Prior experience is not required in many cases.

GIS technicians/GIS engineers

The candidate should have a fair amount of working knowledge in any GIS software and good mapping knowledge with 1-2 years of experience.

GIS analysts

These professionals should have a basic knowledge of mapping and good skills in GIS applications and software with a few years of experience. Their duty is to examine the company's project specifications and development of new GIS tools, wherever necessary. A fair share of GIS programming skills is an advantage.

Business development managers

The candidate should have a minimum of 2-5 years of experience with good knowledge about GIS business activities. He should have worked in domestic and international market with proven abilities and an excellent track record.

GIS project manager

The candidate should have a minimum of 5 years of experience in GIS project management, database design and development, GIS application development and familiarity with current versions of GIS products. He should have a good GIS background and high qualifications.


A consultant's primary duties are the complete analysis, design and documentation of a project. He has to work closely with business development/sales and project managers in drafting responses to RFP/tenders and preparing project proposals.

Future prospects

The scene in India for GIS is bright at present and also augurs well for the future. As per a latest report, the growth of GIS market in India was Rs 79 crores in the year 1999-2000. The exports from India are expected to reach US$150 million by year 2005. Also the increasing job opportunities in public and private sectors gives hope for the development of GIS usage in the country.



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