Some users of cartographic software may need attached options and databases to come up with very high profile maps in the same program. On one hand, the cartographic programs may lack some functions for modeling, storage and management of the interconnected data. On the other hand, GIS software may not be as user friendly as they need to be and may lack some friendly symbolization and editing tools. Both of these softwares have some differences and similarities that may supplement or complement each other in terms of functionality. Below are some of the differences between Cartography and GIS.
Geographic Information System (GIS):
Presentation of modeled real world elements: A GIS system is mainly used in the representation of real world elements through the use of models that resemble the real world objects.
Topology concept is important: In a GIS system the concept of topology in the representation of the real world models is essential in the modeling of the objects to come up with a replica of the real world object.
Strict use of layer technique: A GIS system includes strict usage of layer techniques to represent the models. For instance, the system may prevent customization of bridges and underpasses.
Database definition: In a GIS system, the meaning of objects is defined by their attributes that are stored in a given database.
Manipulation and analysis functions: A GIS system comprises of tools and techniques that are used in the manipulation and analysis of the data.
No generalization: A GIS system does not allow generalization of any input data. Each data input has to be specific in order to come up with accurate models of the representations.
No WYSIWYG: The presentation created in a GIS system is not necessarily “what you see is what you get”
Raster and vector layers: Integration of raster layers and switching between the different models may be possible.
Simple printing and plotting options only: Because of the complexity of the GIS system, there are very few printing and plotting tools to be employed in the data output.
Complex to use: A GIS system is extremely complex to use and requires specialized training to analyze and manipulate the data being fed into the system.
Computer Aided Cartography software:
Representations of objects by symbols: Cartographic software is mainly used in the representation of real world objects using symbols.
Graphical representations only: In a Cartographic software, the concept of topology is not essential hence only graphical representations are necessary. This means there is less data manipulation required.
No strict use of layer technique: A cartographic software does not require strict use of layering technique unless when under special circumstances e.g, in the representation of bridges and underpasses.
Symbolic definition: In cartographic software, the meaning of objects is defined strictly by their symbolization. This comes as a disadvantage because the end representation may not be out-rightly identified by a third party unless there is prior information available.
2D visualization functions: Cartographic software contains 2D visualization and configuration options to analyze and represent the data.
Generalization of input data: In a cartographic software, a lot of the input data is generalized and the represented information may not be as accurate as it should be.
WYSIWYG: In cartographic software, the data representation follows the “what you see is what you get” analogy since all end representations come in the form of symbols.
Raster and vector layers: In a cartographic software, the raster and vector layers are usually combined together to give a symbolic representation of the data.
Complex printing output: The output options in cartographic software are usually conceived for the production of high quality printing options.
Simple to use: Unlike a GIS system, the data collected by cartographic software is easy to manipulate and hence the software is relatively easy to use. The usage of CAC software is mainly pegged on Desktop Publishing Programs that are easy to use and comprehend.