Geographic Information Systems - Using Spatial Data

Geographic Information Systems are able to integrate and compare raster and vector data. These are converted to a coordinate system to allow for analysis, augmentation, and visualization to showcase trends and correlative analysis. Simply put - what are the characteristics of a location-based object and how do they relate to other points around it.

Vector images are comprised of points - either as stand alone point vectors, lines, or shape. These lines connecting points can be discrete or continuous, mapping topographically similar elements. A polygon is established by connecting various points with lines to bound an area. Each point, line, or polygon contains associated data, including X,Y coordinate location, spatial reference frame, and a value.

Point: Cities, Houses, Research Station

Line: Streams, Roads, Driving Directions

Polygons: States, Countries, Census Data

Vector images are able to display this data with color ramps - allowing a viewer to easily discern the values of each point, line, or polygon. On the right, counties are mapped with their sensitivity to a particular piece of data. As the color ramp goes from white to dark blue, so does the favorability to the Gold Star Index.

Vectors can also be utilized when the data is of too small or large a scale to represent topographical data. Small scale maps may have cities a points while large-scale may have cities as polygons and houses as points.

Raster files, known as bitmaps, are made up of pixels. These pixels make up a two dimensional image - much like a photo. Observing the photo under high magnification can distort a raster image.

Raster files are customarily larger in size than vector images, since every pixel must have a value documented in a matrix.

Raster files include BMP, TIFF, and JPEG. The files must be associated with specific geographical matrix to allow integration of vector and raster files.

Pixels in raster images that have a specific value, such as color, with an overall pixel density or resolution of points per square inch, or ppi. Above and to the right are photos of the BROB Analytics, LLC logo. The overall dimensions are 995 pixels by 1267 pixels, with an overall pixel density of 192 ppi. When observed on the website, it appears to be one solid image, since the human eye is unable to distinguish and differentiate between the pixels.

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