Major GIS Users and Their Applications

Federal government

  • Manage natural resources of land, forests and water
  • Inventory forest resources and determine clearcut size and location
  • Develop defense strategies
  • Establish tax valuations and manipulate census data
  • Identify routes to deliver emergency aid
  • Plan for homeland security
  • Monitor pollution
  • Track agricultural production and drought conditions
  • Manage public works networks
  • Plan new land developments
  • Make maps
  • Assess potential damage from earthquakes or other natural disasters
  • Track wildlife and map invasive species of vegetation

Utility companies

  • Automate transmission and distribution networks
  • Build and service pipelines and communication networks
  • Issue work orders
  • Dispatch service crews
  • Market to prospective customers
  • Keep track of distribution networks


  • Route sanitation and other city vehicles
  • Plan alternative traffic patterns
  • Locate features such as water mains for service and replacement
  • Redraw voter districts
  • Plan service and utility expansions
  • Determine floodplains and zones
  • Track crime trends and target enforcement in police departments
  • Route emergency services for 911 systems
  • Plan for large-scale emergencies and evacuations
  • Locate ownership and tax information for parcels of land

Private companies

  • Locate plant and building sites
  • Determine demographic areas for marketing strategies
  • Manage fleets of mobile workers
  • Determine the impact of new or potential competitors