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Geographic Information system originated in the mid 1960s Simonett, 1997. It made a continuous past since the time. In the 1980's it made a tremendous growth because of combined special effects of software and the cost effectiveness of hardware. This expansion was mostly fuelled by certain factors for example new application areas, increased availability of major datasets like tiger. Its gradual development has been significant as the years ensue. It is made up of three components which are computer systems and software, spatial data and data management and procedures
The value of GIS keeps on increasing and it has proved to be very important aspects of daily life. "Bernhardsen (2002) reported that GIS is now gradually looking over their function and, in addition exploiting totally new areas" as it is used for analysis and simulation. This paper serves to discuss the future of GIS data, hardware, software and some future issues that will affect GIS. In the future GIS will expand into different new fields and new areas, make new discoveries and it will give solutions to many problems. Its future is bright and brimming with opportunities.
GIS data can be acquired by purchasing it, from existing sources and from captured conversion of data from spatial information to a digital form. This in-turn created a lot of problems and this will be rectified in the future where data will be available to a much greater extent over the internet and will easier and efficient to access. GPS, image maps for example scanned maps and remote sensing will increasingly become integrated into the GIS system.
2.1 GIS and Global Positioning System (GPS)
GPS is a radio navigation that allows determination of accurate location, velocity and time anywhere in the world and it uses signal from orbiting satellites to acquire data. The data is collected from the field. "It has improved mapping significantly (Clarke, 2003) in that it is more accurate than maps. Its system is more flexible and its receivers directly convert data into GIS formats. Therefore in the future some of its software's will be improved and it will be increasingly used as a source of data collection using the field method.
2.2 GIS and Image maps
This in short involves the digital orthophotoquads which are digital air photos. They are one of the most accurate sources on information.
2.3 GIS and remote sensing
An aircraft is a highly source of high-resolution of map data and the spacecraft mainly deals with remote sensing data. In the next coming generation both instruments will improve and become more advanced than before. Remote sensing will become a very important source of data for GIS in the future. This will be due to the decrease in the cost of data and there will be new types of data established.
2.4 Data Exchange
"Clarke, 2003 reports that data exchange will become more common in the future as compared to the past or present. " The using of maps will increase leading to data trade. There will be a need to facilitate data exchange standards. System suppliers will cooperate and use international standardization (ISO and CEN). In-turn this will assist greatly in brings up data from all kinds of sources.
GIS hardware's have undergone four evolutions which are workstation, network, microcomputer and mobility. All these are very important and they will influence the future extremely. The workstation will continue to greatly influence GIS work to a more highly standards. On the other hand the microcomputer will allow GIS to improve and establish new areas. And the mobility of hardware will put GIS in a completely new revolution phase. Hardware will get cheaper and will become more powerful tool.
GIS software will definitely take GIS systems into a more advanced level than the current one. There will be significant improvements and there are a few trends that elaborate this. The software trend which was the first trend over a couple years had limited interaction due to the inflexibility of user interface and the nature of the system. GIS will become flexible and a lot of data differences will fade away. But others will present GIS with an opportunity to improve for example the databases. The individual's application of software's will become cheaper and advanced. They will become easier for individuals to use that is user friendly.
Future issues and problems associated with GIS
The development and advancement of GIS will in the near future bring in a lot of pros in terms of cost, time and usage of the system. On the other hand there will be a few problems and obstacles encountered that will balance the system. This includes privacy and ownership.
As GIS expands and develop personal privacy and isolation will become one of the major issues that will arise. There will be legal application needed required to control its privacy. This will put a lot of doubt in data collection, analysis, interpretation and conclusions. This will create problems for GIs operators as they will be held accountable for any violation of privacy.
"Clarke, 2003 reports that data ownership will remain critical to GIS, with a delicate balance between public and private GIS data." This because of certain factors that differentiate the two sectors for example affordability of the system. The public are confident that GIS is an asset that should be protected and sold for profit. If the demand increases there will be competition for the product therefore this can affect the standard of the data. Also lack of funds threatens GIS research as it is costly. Private companies are at the level of making profits. Whereas the government is faced with a challenge of making a loss in that they collect the data at the expense of the public therefore they cannot charge them again for requiring the data.
Some of the future developments of GIS are now in place but others are just speculations that still have an opportunity to develop and improve. All the three components of GIS will get affected as technology advances these are the data, hardware and software's. In any development of a product they are pros and cons that affect it. Even though GIS will mostly make life easier, get cheaper and improve our lives there will be a few problems that will affect it for example privacy.