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Northwest Indiana GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Forum 

Components of Geographic Information Systems 

  • Computer Hardware - refers to the computer components - the physical frame work that includes devices for:
    • storing data
    • displaying analysis
    • creating output
  • Computer Software - in addition to readily available software, there are several public domain software systems as well as university designed systems.
  • Data - the old GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) principle - Geographic Information System tools account for only a fraction of the total costs. The most expensive part of a Geographic Information System is the collection and processing of the data. The cost factor underscores the vital importance of creating or accessing the reliable spatial data. Every detail seen or observed may be convertible to a digital form and become an intelligent input to a GIS. The costs associated with data (capture, index, storage) can be enormous. Hence the data must be multipurpose in nature. It should be able to be used by any unrelated independent users to justify its price. It is a good policy to set Data consistency standards - for data exchange to unrelated users and data transfer to other systems.
  • People / Liveware / Wetware - may be expensive. GIS education may be required. At least the person overseeing the entire operation and whose responsibility it is to make the decision must be professionally trained.