Geographically referenced data (or geodata) is data that is connected to locations on the earth. The data may come in a variety of forms such as imagery (raster) datasets, vector (feature) datasets, terrain, LIDAR (point clouds), and others. That data might be based on a range of values, such as rainfall amounts or elevation above sea level, or it might deal with geographical features, such as lakes, city boundaries, land use zones, or road types. Geographic information puts geodata into a format that is meaningful for people but that can also be used and manipulated by computers.
Geographic Information is used by different organizations such as telecommunications companies; environmental management agencies; natural disaster management agencies; Earth observation companies; oil, gas, and utility companies; disaster and emergency management; and the military. It can be used to solve a wide range of problems. For example, you could use Geographic Information to perform the following.
- design and maintain a telecommunications network
- locate and control a wildfire
- design and maintain a network for water, electricity, or gas distribution
- see where homes for sale are located in relation to schools, parks, hospitals, or fire stations
- determine the best route for a family drive
See also Information vs. Data.