Pine Springs lies on Texas/US Highway 62/180 on the route from Carlsbad, N.M., to El Paso, Texas. It is wholly contained within the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. In 1972, I came to Pine Springs as part of a National Park Service survey crew.
GIS is being used more and more as a framework for business management because it is often the best platform for integrating the various spatial and non-spatial data sets utilized by organizations large and small.
The zen of GIS is that everything is somewhere, right? And so it is. But we have to be able to find what we want in order to work with it. In GIS, we have powerful tools to help locate and organize our information.
Create, manage and share. These were the three activities associated with GIS data we discussed in the preceding installment of this series ("Getting Data Into a GIS (And Out)" POB, August 2005). Just as it is in surveying, data is the "coin of the realm" in GIS. It is far and away our most important product. It's more valuable than either our hardware or our software. Hardware and software come and go, but data is unique. It is expensive to collect. And it is even more expensive to replace. Storing and keeping track of data over time is also not without its challenges.
It was, I suppose, inevitable that once the "marriage" between GPS and GIS technologies was consummated there would be an increasing demand for improvements in the quality of the products that supported them. Such is frequently the case in a marriage. Submeter accuracy has been the de facto standard for what has euphemistically been referred to as "mapping-" or "resource-" grade GPS receivers. But there have been rumblings of a cost-effective method of getting "survey-accurate" data into a GIS as well. GPS developers and manufacturers have been introducing a "new generation" of products designed to increase both accuracy and efficiency for users.