Many researches are using GIS and spatial statistics in their research. GIS helps you in mapping and analyze the data.
The role of mapping applications in academic research cannot be overemphasized. We shall look at it from three perspectives; analysis, presentation and information interchange.
Analysis – GIS analysis is what brings the sense out of your datasets. There are several analyses that can be done using GIS. This could range from proximity based analysis, Network (Such as routing) analysis, density analysis, overlay analysis, etc. This analysis is what brings out the beauty in GIS. Through these analyses, scenarios can be simulated to study a case, trends can be established from analysis, patterns can be revealed, and features can be queried. These analyses, helps researchers get clearer pictures of the issues under study.
Presentation – One of the great features of mapping applications is the excellent visualization capabilities. Unlike traditional statistical tools that only present data as tables or graphs, GIS gives you the ability to present your data clearly as maps, graphs, and tables. Maps speak in a universal way – I do not need to understand a language to read a map. This is really something very important in this era of globalization. Therefore, as a presentation tool, it gives academic researcher that extra advantage in presenting data in the most interesting and user-friendly way cutting across cultural, social and geographical backgrounds.
Information Interchange – The advent of distributed (web-based) mapping application/framework (such as ArcIMS, ASPMap, MapServer, etc) has brought a renewed vigour in the popularity and acceptability of mapping applications. Before now, mapping applications were basically at the desktop level, thus restricting access to just the desktop user. However, these distributed mapping applications allows for global access through networks (intranet and internet), giving academic researchers yet another edge in this globalized world. Thus, spatial data can now be easily shared among researchers through the web browser, making it possible for people to have access to and perform basic mapping operations without having to have the application itself or having complicated mapping skills.
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