A geographic Information system (GIS) offers companies the ability to utilize geographic data in a way that lets them map out, analyze and then assess various points of interest. As the field continues to progress, the uses for GIS have continued to grow, with many companies implementing it for a variety of reasons. As it has so many applications, GIS training is crucial for organizations that want to have a more knowledgeable and efficient workforce.
With the many subsets of GIS applications, training is not static or one-size-fits-all but a process that should be flexible and tailored to the needs of the company. For example, GPS training is a subset of GIS training related to the way GIS interacts with navigation systems. A company that works with navigation systems will need to incorporate GPS elements into their GIS training, while a company that doesn't work with navigation systems may need to focus their training elsewhere.
For any company looking to improve GIS capabilities amongst their staff, It's crucial for them to know why GIS tutorials are important, how GIS training certification can assist employees and the main uses of GIS technology today.
Six Uses of GIS Technology
GIS technology is employed in a variety of industries due to its wide range of applications. The top six uses of GIS are listed below:
- Mapping data: The ability to visualize data on a map was the original reason that GIS was developed. The mapping data function of GIS allows for data to be placed into a database and then transformed into a mapped form that users can understand easily. This sort of functionality is especially important as 80% of data has some sort of geospatial element that factors into it. With the data mapped, users can begin to understand patterns and relationships in an area.
- Buffering: When you use GIS technology to buffer, you're attempting to see the sphere of influence from a point. Buffering refers to the process of creating a zone that uses a specified distance to go around a line, polygon or point. Generally, buffering is used along with proximity analysis. Those in the medical field may use buffering to see how many other clinics are close by, which will indicate if they need to build any new ones.
- Proximity analysis: GIS systems allow users to conduct a proximity analysis that defines the relationship between two or more locations on a map. Businesses often use this type of analysis to determine where they should build new offices or stores. The proximity analysis can take into account numerous factors, such as economic and social demographics and the placement of competitors. The most accurate proximity analyses have a constant referencing system.
- Find clusters: With multiple algorithms, you can use GIS systems to group together a set of unrelated points by theme. For example, a cluster might be made up of a set of data points where there is a greater density than an average or specified level. There are a variety of models within cluster models, like centroid models, distribution models, density models, group models, subspace models and connectivity models.
- Find nearest: You can measure the distance between a point and an element that has been designated as a polygon through the use of vector points. GIS professionals and researchers have expanded this type of measurement to find data points that are median, minimal or maximal within a data set.
- Finding what's in an area: One of the simplest forms of analysis, this kind gives users the ability to overlay a variety of data over different themes. An example of this type of analysis would be if you needed to know what types of soil existed on a college campus and ran the data to find out where the different soils were located.
GIS Certification and Training: Is It Worth It?
Other than those in the surveyor profession, it's unlikely that you'll see a job description list GIS certification as a job requirement. Additionally, companies who use GIS may have different ways of using GIS technology than what you learned in your certification program, which can mean you'll have to relearn some information to make it fit the company's procedures.
Does this mean that you shouldn't get certified or have your employees get certified? Of course not.
GIS certification provides a great deal of value, whether on an individual or team-based level. For individuals, a GIS certification can make them stand out in a crowded field and put them ahead of other similar candidates on the call sheet. For teams, GIS certifications can make sure that your staff has the expertise needed to handle a variety of tasks and react to challenges quickly.
Why GIS Training Is Important
If your company or organization uses GIS, you'll want to make sure that your staff knows how to use the system correctly. Utilizing GIS certificate programs and GIS training workshops are an excellent way to get your team up to date on the current uses of GIS.
Below you'll find some of the top advantages of GIS training and how it's crucial to the success of companies that use GIS in their operations:
1. Greater Staff Efficiency and Productivity
Without training, staff members are often given GIS tasks that they aren't sure how to complete, even if they've worked with GIS in the past. Often, staff members can figure out how to complete the task, but it takes a great deal of trial and error, extending the amount of time it takes to complete it successfully.
Instead of having your team waste their time trying to learn how to complete the job on their own, they could already know the proper procedures for finishing a task. GSI training would increase the efficiency of your staff members. The proper training will have staff members prepared to complete a variety of tasks given to them. With the training, your employees will improve their efficiency and get their work done in an optimal amount of time.
Training also can help staff members improve their productivity. Due to the efficiency of staff members increasing after attending GIS training workshops and other programs, your staff's productivity will also grow, with more tasks completed daily. The increased productivity will make any costs associated with the training process worth it.
2. Increased Staff Knowledge
One of the core benefits of ensuring employees have undergone GIS certificate programs is the increase in GSI knowledge among your workforce as a whole. Greater staff knowledge will have a variety of short-term and long-term benefits for your company.
In the short term, a knowledgeable workforce means that employees will be able to complete more tasks and do so quickly. Additionally, supervisors and managers will have their time freed up, as their staff won't have to ask as many questions or get them to explain how to complete a task.
In the long term, errors will be reduced in the completion of GIS-oriented tasks, as employees will know how to operate GIS programs and equipment correctly. Fewer errors mean you'll save money by not having to devote more staff and resources to fix previous errors. Additionally, when errors do occur, staff members will be more likely to know how to fix them quickly, reducing any liability issues.
3. New Opportunities
As a trained staff will have a greater knowledge pool to draw from and more time freed up for other tasks, you'll be putting yourself in a position to innovate with existing processes or expand on the variety of tasks your company regularly completes.
For example, employees who are well trained will be able to spot inefficiencies in your current work model better, allowing you to build new workflows or procedures that can help them complete their tasks faster. In addition to spotting inefficiencies, the creativity of workers can also be improved. By knowing the rules of GIS and increasing their knowledge, they will have a solid base to add their own ideas to.
Along with benefits to employee innovation, the company as a whole should be able to take on more projects or expand into other areas with a staff who can complete their standard work faster. The increased efficiency and productivity frees up time that employees can use elsewhere.
The Fundamentals of GIS: What Training Should Include
If you're sending your employees to GIS training or attending it yourself, you'll want to be sure that the training includes several GIS fundamentals. Below you can find a broad overview of the fundamentals that you'll want GIS tutorials and training to include:
1. Basic GIS Information
To get your team started with GIS training, they should learn some basic pieces of information from a GIS certificate course. These principles and pieces of GIS knowledge perfect for any GIS tutorial for beginners include:
Uses of GIS: As you know, GIS has a variety of applications that even the most comprehensive GIS certificate course may not be able to cover. Despite its many uses, GIS tutorials and training sessions can be narrowed down to its application in a specified field. If you know you need to use proximity analysis, you'll want to look for a GIS course that includes it in the curriculum.
Difference between GIS and geospatial: Though they are often used interchangeably, the terms actually come with real differences. GIS only refers to the use of geographic data to create derivative maps and spatial analysis. In contrast, geospatial refers to the applications and technology related to geographic data. Training should make sure that the difference is clear to students.
Types of GIS data: There are two main types of GIS data — raster and vector data — that users should be aware of. In short, raster data is defined as data that is cell-based, like elevation data or aerial imagery, while vector data is defined as data that utilizes polygons, lines or points to represent itself. Good GIS training workshops will help students get a solid handle on the different types of data.
Knowing how to do GIS mapping is based on the ability to read and understand maps, and as such, cartography must be included in GIS training. After all, those who are going into GIS will need to know how to create or, at least, read maps accurately. Cartography training will often involve GPS training as well since they often go hand in hand.
Some elements of cartography will include understanding what goes into making maps, principles of their design, their applicability in a number of situations and the different forms that they can take. By the end of a course, students should know all about making maps and how to understand them.
3. Database Management
Understanding how to properly manage and read data is key to GIS certificate programs and GIS tutorials. In a training course, you should learn what types of data are out there and how to read them as well as what kinds of errors are common. Additionally, you may want to learn how to navigate geodatabases.
Ongoing Training and Support
After you've sent your team to a GIS training certification course, it's critical that you make ongoing training a part of your team's continued development. While an initial GIS tutorial for beginners or for certain applications will often prepare your workforce for the present moment, the advances made in GIS technology make it necessary for companies to continue to keep their staff updated on any changes.
For example, in the next decade, paper maps will likely be almost entirely replaced by other technologies. Geographic information science will continue to add more from other fields such as mathematics, geography, geodesy, cartography, statistics and computer science. With geographic information science advancements, all of these fields will continue to build new capabilities for GIS systems.
As GIS grows in the upcoming years and continues to develop its capabilities, it'll be crucial for companies to keep up with the newest GIS updates and know how to use the updated tools properly. A future-centric training strategy will offer training for the most recent technologies in field data collection and support their application at your company.
Getting Started With GIS Training
With the ever-evolving industry and the numerous benefits of GIS, it's crucial for organizations to have their workforce trained to interact with GIS systems properly. For organizations looking to prepare their employees to work with any of the various GIS technologies on the market today, you'll want them to learn about GIS from the very best.
Scheduling a Duncan-Parnell GIS workshop in 2020 is an excellent way to get started with your training. If you want your team to become industry-leading experts in GIS, get in touch with Duncan-Parnell to set up a training session. Additionally, if you're interested in GPS training, a Trimble GPS training course is one of the best training options on the market today.
In addition to locking down a training course, you can also contact us today to speak with a representative about our mapping programs or about any questions you have concerning GIS or GPS training.