Components of GIS

Components of GIS

Components of GIS: Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer system build to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and display all kinds of spatial or geographical data…..


Read Here: What is Geographic Information System?



Geographic Information System Five Components.

  1. Hardware:

  2. Software:

  3. Data:

  4. People:

  5. Methods:


GIS components Cycle

Figure: How GIS Components integrate with each other


clip_image002Hardware: Hardware is Computer on which GIS software runs. Nowadays there are a different range of computer, it might be Desktop or server based. ArcGIS Server is server based computer where GIS software runs on network computer or cloud based. For computer to perform well all hardware component must have high capacity. Some of the hardware components are: Motherboard, Hard driver, processor, graphics card, printer and so on. These all component function together to run a GIS software smoothly.

Main Hardware Components:

  1. Motherboard: It is board where major hardware parts are installed or It is a place where all components gets hooked up.
  2. Hard Drive: It is also called hard disk,  place to store data.
  3. Processor: Processor is the major component in computer, it performs calculation. It is called as Central processing Unit (CPU).
  4. RAM: Random Access Memory (RAM) where all running programs load temporarily.
  5. Printer: It is output device and used to print image, map or document. There are various type of printer available in market.
  6. External Disk: These are portable storage space such as USB drive, DVD, CD or external disk.
  7. Monitor: It is a screen for displaying output information. Nowadays there are various type of monitor: CRT (cathode ray tube), LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), LED (Light Emitting Diodes) and more.


clip_image002Software: Next component is GIS software which provide tools to run and edit spatial information. It helps to query, edit, run and display GIS data. It uses RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) to store the data. Few GIS software list: ArcGis, ArcView 3.2, QGIS, SAGA GIS.

Software Components:

  1. GIS Tools: Key tools to support the browsing of the GIS data
  2. RDBMS: Relational Database Management System to store GIS data. GIS Software retrieve from RDBMS or insert data into RDBMS.
  3. Query Tools: Tools that work with database management system for querying, insertion, deletion and other SQL (Standard Query Language).
  4. GUI: Graphical User Interface that helps user and Software to interact well.
  5. Layout: Good layout window to design map.


clip_image002[6]Data: The most important and expensive component of the Geographic Information System is Data which is generally known as fuel for GIS. GIS data is combination of graphic and tabular data. Graphic can be vector or raster. Both type of data can be created in house using GIS software or can be purchased. The process of creating the GIS data from the analog data or paper format is called digitization. Digitization process involves registering of raster image using few GCP (ground control point) or known coordinates.  This process is widely known as rubber sheeting or georefrencing. Polygon, lines and points are created by digitizing raster image. Raster image itself can be registered with coordinates which is widely known as rectifying the image. Registered image are mostly exported in TIFF format. As mentioned above, GIS data can be Raster or Vector.

GIS Data Types:

  1. Raster: Raster image store information in a cell based manner. It can be aerial photo, satellite image, Digital Elevation Model (DEM). Raster images normally store continuous data.
  2. Vector: Vector data are discrete. It store information in x, y coordinate format. There are three types of Vector data: Lines, Points and Area.


imagePeople: People are user of Geographic Information System. They run the GIS software. Hardware and software have seen tremendous development which made people easy to run the GIS software. Also computer are affordable so people are using for GIS task. These task may be creating simple map or performing advance GIS analysis. The people are main component for the successful GIS.




clip_image002[12]Methods: For successful GIS operation a well-designed plan and business operation rules are important. Methods can vary with different organizations. Any organization has documented their process plan for GIS operation. These document address number question about the GIS methods: number of GIS expert required, GIS software and hardware, Process to store the data, what type of DBMS (database management system) and more. Well designed plan will address all these question.

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. excellent

  2. that was very helpful to me,,
    thank you

    1. Thank you Jim

      1. This is a very good piece but please if you do not mind, i would like an answer to this question.

        What Gis component is mostly overlooked when validating a gis output?

        1. Sure, please go ahead.

  3. Really appreciable.. Great work. Mind soothing paras. Keep up.

    1. Thank you Azif

  4. I am thankfull for the brief and detailed explanations given about GIS components.Thank you once more!

  5. Very helpfull to me…..
    Thank you

  6. The information was really is so easy understand and grasp the concept.
    Thank you very much

  7. specific application / decision making objectives

  8. thank you very kindliy

  9. Awesome thanks for this tremendous job♥️

  10. thAnks alot google

  11. Thank you so much, it’s helpful :D. At least I understand the component of GIS, even though I can’t use the software such as QGIS as well as other yet.

  12. I would like you to include some references

  13. Nice article author.Thank you for such a useful sharing.

  14. Brief And Well explained but Would still Love To Have An Extended Reading, I Don’t If Its Possible For You To Expand This Discussion

  15. Very informative and easy to understand, thanks

  16. Very helpful and well explained piece of work

  17. Very helpful article
    Thank you

  18. This is a vivid information about GIS

  19. This document is well explained. Keep it up. It is very helpful.

  20. The information is clear and straight forward 😊thanks goggle

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Menu