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13 Geospatial Tools for GIS, Mapping & Data Visualization

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In this data-driven world, Wouldn’t it be great if you could map and analyze data geographically? Well, it is possible and a piece of cake with GIS (Geographical Information System).

With the help of data science and AI, GIS enables the analysis of environmental, demographic, and topographic data, making them practical decision-making tools for any business or industry.

Keep reading. In this article, we will discuss GIS tools and how GIS works.

What is Geospatial Intelligence?

Geospatial Intelligence is everything you see around you on this earth. Everything on earth has a relational aspect in terms of space and time, which is called geospatial.

Therefore, geospatial information is any information that may be a natural or artificial feature on earth. It is identified based on that location and other details like a mountain range or weather.

GEOINT gives you the answers to questions like:

  • Where am I?
  • What are the surrounding natural and artificial structures?
  • How does this area look now?
  • How will this area look after an event?

What are Geospatial Data and Geospatial Analytics?

Geospatial data is the combination of these three pieces of information.

1. Location Information – usually geographical coordinates.

2. Attribute Information – the features of the thing, event, or phenomena concerned.

3. Temporal Information – the time or length for which the location and attributes exist. The location can be short-term/static (for example, a flood event or people living in poverty) or dynamic (for example, moving vehicles, weather changes, or spreading an infectious disease).

Geospatial data is commonly used in GIS to understand geographical or spatial relationships. This data typically involves big data sets from different sources like satellite imagery, census data, weather data, cell phone data, drawn images, and social media data. It helps to produce maps to describe these relationships. You can manage, alter, and analyze geospatial data using a GIS.

Geospatial Data Formats

Geospatial data format includes:

  • Vectors and Shapes- Characteristics of a location, such as points, lines, polygons, etc.
  • Point Clouds- 3D models generated by LiDAR systems.
  • Raster and Satellite Imagery- See the Earth from above using high-resolution imagery.
  • Census data- Area-specific census data release for understanding community trends

Now, let’s talk about how Geospatial data is analyzed.

Geospatial analytics is a data visualization that includes maps, graphs, stats, etc. It adds time and location to traditional data for understanding phenomena and finding trends in complex relationships between people and places. Therefore, Geospatial analytics makes predictions or decision-making more effortless and more precise.

With the help of Geospatial analytics, you can easily access a large amount of data around the globe (geographically and geometrically). Users can instantly see how something has changed by comparing data across time and space.

Benefits of Geospatial Data

Following are some more benefits of Geospatial Data

Easy Insights: Geeting data in visual formats (like maps and image charts) makes it easier to understand the ongoing events

Real-time analysis: Users may rapidly see how something has evolved from days to years by examining data across time and geography.

Targeted solutions: Location-specific analytics will help to understand why any event is happening at any place

Let’s now look at the best Geospatial/GIS Tools.

BatchGeo

With simple Copy/ Paste or drag and drop, you can convert you can change your tabular geographical data (excel, CSV) into maps with Batchgeo.

Features of BatchGeo

  • Excel support
  • Map Bages
  • Embed maps
  • Map open data
  • Map Grouping

Big organizations like Apple, Fortune 500, Amazon, Bose, Coca Cola have benefited from this tool.

ArcGIS Online

With a ribbon user interface, 64-bit processing, and 3D integration, ArcGIS Pro updates GIS. There has been a significant makeover emphasizing speed, creativity, and cartography.

Features of ArcGIS Online

  • Three-dimensional integration unified
  • Clearly defined cartography and labeling
  • Integration with ArcGIS Online
  • Ribbon interface based on context
  • 64-bit processing
  • Improved and intuitive editing
  • 1500+ geoprocessing tools (35 toolboxes)

This cloud-based tool help creates maps, share maps and apps, collaborate, analyze and work with data.

CARTO

Cartodb is an open-source and powerful GIS tool, a drag-and-drop analysis tool for web and mobile apps. Read Shapefiles, GeoJSON data.

Features of Carto

  • Custom Basemaps
  • Geocoding
  • Routing service
  • Isolines
  • Data Observatory

Carto has a cloud-native platform that allows spatial analysis and converts location data into understandable reports. It also provides a data platform called Spatial Data Catalog that gives access to premium datasets.

Carto works well with Google Cloud, Snowflake, Databricks, and Amazon Redshift.

GRASS GIS

It provides raster, vector, and geospatial processing engines in a single software suite. GRASS GIS provides tools for ecosystem modeling, rater and vector data visualization, hydrology, geospatial data analysis and management, aerial imagery, and processing of satellites.

Features of Grass GIS

  • Geoprocessing with 350+ modules of the highest quality
  • LiDAR and network analysis
  • There is extensive documentation and tutorials available
  • Free and open source
  • Satellite imagery tools with sophisticated capabilities
  • 3D raster rendering and customization
  • Well-documented
  • Raster, vector, imagery, and temporal tools

Grass GIS is an open source and free software that can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux with an inbuilt GUI.

QGIS

QGIS is an open-source GIS program; you can visualize, manage, modify, analyze, and create printed maps with this.

Features of QGIS

  • Geocoding
  • Combine different forms of data into a single image
  • Publish all collected data into one map.
  • Real-Time Streaming
  • Buffer Zone Query

With QGIS, it is possible to create, edit, visualize, analyze, and publish geospatial data on Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD, and mobile devices.

GeoDa

YouTube video

In terms of statistical techniques and analysis, GeoDa is an expert. You examine geographic statistics while you work with this free GIS software. It’s the best tool for spatial modeling.

Features of GeoDa

  • Interface and design of the future
  • Statistics specialist
  • Data exploration for understanding statistics
  • Geosimulation with data display
  • Free and open source
  • Contemporary graphs and charts

GeoDa supports vector data formats such as GeoJSON, shapefiles, MapInfo, GML, geodatabase, KML, and other formats supported by the GDAL library.

It also allows multi-layer support for visualization and inspecting the statistical results and models through linked charts and maps.

Whitebox Geospatial Inc

YouTube video

It is a powerful, flexible, and fast GIS tool. Whitebox Geospatial front-end GUI interface contains 500 geospatial analysis tools.

Features of Whitebox Geospatial

  • A true powerhouse of geospatial analysis
  • Whitebox LiDAR & Remote Sensing Extension
  • Hydrological modeling capabilities
  • Open-Source
  • Remote sensing

Whitebox platform consists of four core products and tools:- Whitebox LiDAR & Remote Sensing Extension, Whitebox DEM & Spatial Hydrology Extension, Whitebox Agriculture Extension, Whitebox General Toolset Extension (GTE), and WhiteboxTools Open Core (OC).

This extension brings different capabilities to the platform, such as cloud and image data processing, digital elevation model processing and hydrological modeling, process noisy crop yield data.

Geocodio

Geocodio provides simple and user-friendly geocoding, reverse geocoding, and data matching for addresses in the US and Canada.

Features of Geocodio

  • Batch Geocoding API for more number of addresses
  • Geocode Spreadsheets
  • Flexible Terms of Use with no restrictions
  • Add Congressional districts, time zones, FIPS codes, and more to addresses or coordinates.
  • Spelling Correction and Address Parsing

Geocodio products include API, Geocode Spreadsheets and Geocodio Maps. These tools help upload a large set of addresses or coordinates and convert addresses to longitude or latitude.

MapInfo Pro

Mapinfo Pro is an all-inclusive desktop mapping application that enables geographic information system (GIS) analysts to display, analyze, edit, interpret, and export data to show connections, patterns, and trends.

Features of MapInfo Pro

  • Ease of use and 64-bit processing
  • Querying and improved table management
  • Powerful addressing and geocoding services
  • Side-by-side mapping for improved visualization integration
  • Smart ribbon-based navigation for tool access

This tool can be used to explore the location, integrate the location data to other data points using modeling tools and build models.

Global Mapper

In GIS analysis, Global Mapper functions as a “Swiss army knife.” It is simple with a remarkable degree of flexibility, though. For instance, it features a strong elevation and LiDAR display within a 64-bit application.

Features of Global Mapper

  • Robust LiDAR display and processing
  • Reads a large number of formats
  • Advanced elevation manipulation tools
  • 64-bit with a user-friendly interface
  • Publish web maps through MangoMap

Global mapper provides different functionalities such as data importing/exporting, OTF reader module, terrain analysis, map printing and publishing, image rectification, raster calculator, graph and chart manager, etc.

Simple GIS Software

Simple GIS Software provides powerful analytical capabilities to help solve real-world problems such as spatial planning and transportation etc.

Features of Simple GIS Software

  • Quality Software, Reasonable Prices
  • Try, Test before you buy
  • Simple yet powerful
  • Free resources and tutorials are available

This user-friendly and reasonably priced GIS software allows capturing, storing, manipulating, analyzing, and presenting spatial and geographic data.

Maptitude Mapping Software

This software allows the creation of maps, graphs, and other graphic displays of geographic information for analysis and presentation. Maptitude is one of the most cost-effective all-in-one GIS platforms.

Features of Maptitude Mapping Software

  • Analyzing routes to improve delivery routes
  • Possibilities for thematic mapping are plentiful.
  • Low learning curve and simple to understand
  • For transportation, TransModeler, and TransCAD
  • Good product support and documentation
  • The geographic and tabular finder can locate sites anywhere on earth.
  • Colour, pattern/icon, dot-density, chart, scaled-symbol, and 3D prism themes are some examples of thematic visualizations.
  • Map units, left- or right-side-of-the-road routing, file permissions, geocoding parameters, and many more variables that the user can customize.

Maptitude mapping software provides customized solutions for industries such as banking, real estate, energy, insurance, healthcare, marketing, sales, etc.

Maptive GIS Mapping Software

With the help of Maptive GIS Mapping Software, users can quickly gain insights, make decisions, and comprehend vast amounts of data easily by turning rows of geographic data into maps.

Features of Maptive GIS Mapping Software

  • Multiple Variable Grouping
  • Share, Pring, and embed maps
  • Google Street View
  • Geographic Boundary Territory tool
  • Global Coverage
  • Mobile friendly
  • Power & Intuitive

Maptive GIS comes with a Desktop and Web interface. GIS software lets users store, analyze, and visualize data.

It has applications for sales teams, franchises, marketers, real estate agents, city planners, developers, etc.

Conclusion

GIS is a remarkable system for any business or organization. Many industries (private, government, or individual) benefit from it by analyzing geospatial data and planning things accordingly, which helps them to serve the user’s life easier by making more precise decisions.

Industries like Telecom and Network Services, Urban planning, Transportation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, Agricultural Applications, Disaster Management, and Mitigation are all going ahead and becoming future-ready with geospatial technology and data.

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