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MOERMI: Geospatial Technologies

A guide to the Morgan Open Education Resource Mentoring Initiative project for Geospatial Technologies, funded by the Maryland Open Source Textbook Initiative.

About Geospatial Technologies.

Geospatial technology is characterized by the application of technology, software and analysis to the study of any phenomena occurring on Earth. For instance Geoscientists use remote sensing with satellite and aerial photography to track water pollution and develop remediation strategies and help formulate management policy. Civil engineers guide the elevation of roadways, reinforcement of levee systems, and creation of resilient infrastructure with the aid of global positioning systems (GPS). Geographical information systems (GIS) are used by Public Health experts to monitor the spread of disease and inform public policy and environmental health initiatives.  A broad range of social scientists use geospatial technologies to study housing, employment, education and myriad other aspects of modern society.  

The Geospatial technology is also evident in emerging disciplines like the Spatial humanities where Historical GIS visualizes past landscapes, Story Maps give context to the travel narratives of explorers and the evolution of music, and Linguists, philosophers and religious scholars use geospatial technologies to map sacred languages and places to demonstrate their importance locally and globally while cultivating people’s spiritual connections in the process.     

Examples of Geospatial Technology

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a computer-based system to aid in the collection, maintenance, storage, analysis, output and distribution of spatial data.  GIS is in essence making maps with computer software, but more broadly includes statistical analyses, visualization and making decisions about 

Global Positioning System (GPS)  is often associated with car navigation systems, which tell you where you are and where you want to go.  GPS is also a technology for capturing data about locations and the characteristics and other information about those locations.

Remote Sensing refers to a broad range of technologies for capturing data in image format.  The methods of capturing images ranges from drones to airplanes and satellites.

Internet Mapping Technologies includes platforms and software Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth that make mapping and spatial data sharing more flexible for the non-specialist, especially. 

Applications of GIS Video

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