The world is a complex place. It’s a truth we all know, but try a simple thought experiment and see if it drives the point home. Imagine that you travel to the top of a skyscraper situated in the downtown area of one of the United States’ largest cities. (For the illustration’s point, let’s say that it’s Houston, Texas.) Now peer down at the metropolis below you and describe what you see.
Most people would talk about seeing buildings and streets, cars and people. But there’s so much more going on in that geography. The city subdivides into various zoning patterns. Different demographics spread out across its surface. And a complex network of utilities snakes above and below the city.
You can’t always see all of this easily with the naked eye or even on an ordinary map. That’s where a Geographic Information System (GIS) comes into play. A GIS segregates different types of data into an interactable, multi-layered, computerized system into easily comprehensible slices.
What are the components of a GIS?
At its most basic level, a GIS involves a number of components. One is a computer database of some kind. Another is an end user’s device on which to view the GIS, anything from a desktop computer to a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Between those two extremes goes data, a lot of data, whatever data a particular client might require. (More on that below.) But more important than the data is the software used to interpret it.
What does GIS software do?
GIS software makes the information that goes into it make sense. Every piece of GIS software provides a graphical representation of the included data on a map framework, allowing users to see the info in an easy to comprehend way. Some software suites, though, allow integration between various programs. For instance, Milsoft Utility Solutions’ Engineering and Operations Software fully incorporates our GIS, allowing other applications to access its data and conclusions.
What are the types of GIS Data?
The types of GIS data vary from map instance to instance. They include:
- Municipalities inputting zoning divisions, real estate parcels, wetland demarcations, and demographic information
- Health and human services officials employing data about opioid deaths, arrests, and availability of health care services
- Scientists examining the particulars about Mars by looking closely for relationships between topography, temperature, and weather patterns
Electric distribution utilities have different data that they want to map. In order to keep their electric distribution networks running well and efficiently, they need to map every aspect of their distribution systems. This includes the physical components comprising the circuit network, a utility’s physical facilities, and all of the connected customers.
What are the advantages of Milsoft’s GIS software?
About 216 electric distribution utilities use Milsoft’s GIS systems, and they understand why our software offers distinct advantages. As mentioned above, the best software integrates with other programs, allowing complete connection. Our Engineering Analysis, Outage Management System, and Field Engineering and Communications all seamlessly integrate with the Milsoft Geographic Information System (aka WindMilMap®).
WindMilMap® offers another advantage that other GIS systems and their software can’t match. Because of its integration with our Engineering Analysis software, it can catch errors in mapping as soon as they’re made. Any addition or alteration that doesn’t match up with Engineering Analysis will automatically be flagged as an error.