Differences between GIS Software and Hardware

Differences between GIS Software and Hardware

Let’s look at the differences between GIS software and Hardware.

1. Definition

GIS Software- Software is one of the main components of the working Geographic Information System (GIS). It is a framework designed to store, manage and retrieve geographic data. It is also used to display geographic data and information for analyzes and presentation.

GIS Hardware-Hardware is a component of the Geographic Information System (GIS) on which a GIS operates.

2. Function

Software: the working of any software is dependent on the Hardware where it runs. Therefore, absence of GIS hardware, the software cannot run or work. In most cases, a computer can work or operation without any software being installed.

Hardware: Hardware, on the other side doesn’t depend on software to operate as it is the one that hosts this software. A computer cannot operate without Hardware. The Hardware supports all programs that run within the computer; therefore, an error is encountered in the system, and the computer may not operate.

3. Storage

Software: though the software is used to store data, they don’t have their own storage space to store this information, and hence they rely on Hardware for storage. This proves why software cannot work in the absence of Hardware.

Hardware: the memory space of a given computer is defined by the capacity of its Hardware (hard disk). All computer components depend on Hardware for storage.

4. Computer viruses

A computer virus is a program that alters the functioning of the computer and spread from one computer to another.

Software: Software is largely affected by computer viruses. These viruses slow down the software’s working and can lead to loss of data that is saved in the software if not controlled. Software is prone to getting viruses when computers are connected. Therefore, they require protective software (ant-virus) that can protect them from the attack of viruses.

Hardware: Hardware is hardly affected or attacked by computer viruses. This saves the cost of installing anti-viruses and minimizing the risks of losing data.

5. Damage and Restoration

All computer components are prone to damage. However, they all differ on how to handle the damage.

Software: Once computer software is damaged, other similar software can be easily replaced without losing the stored data. This is achieved through its Backup and Copy feature, and the data is copied to the newly installed software.

Hardware: once computer hardware is damaged, it is replaced with a new one. Unlike in the software when the Hardware is damaged, all the data in it is lost and cannot be back up.

6. Physical characteristics

In most cases, the physical features of a thing are used to differentiate it from another thing. A similar knowledge may be applied to draw a comparison between the software and Hardware.

Software: software is a set of instructions, and therefore, you can only see it, but you can’t touch it.

Hardware: unlike software, Hardware is a physical, electronic device, and thus it can be seen and be touched.

7. How they are made

GIS software and Hardware are made in different ways. This can be a good differentiating factor.

Software: Computer software is developed and engineered. They are programmed to perform a given task and have a fixed set of instructions.

Hardware: whereas computer hardware is manufactured and not programmed. It doesn’t contain any set of instructions. This makes it usable to run any software or computer program.

8. Categories

Depending on the component, each exists in various categories of different types. This can be used to differentiate one component from another.

Software: software is mainly divided into two main categories, namely, software programming and Application software. Each of the categories is designed to perform a specific task.

Hardware: on the other hand, Hardware is divided into four main categories, namely, input devices, output devices, internal components, and storage.

9. Working environment

This is the environment surrounding any computer component and alters with it working.

Software: For software to operate, it must be hosted by one or more Hardware. Therefore, Hardware provides software with the working environment on which it stores its data and information.

Hardware: computer is the working environment of the Hardware. Hardware may consist of one or many software that is working under it.

10. Duplication

Duplication refers to the process of obtaining many copies from one original copy.

Software: Software components can be duplicated into many copies, and this makes them unique from hardware components.

hardware components like keyboard, mouse, hard disk, etc., cannot be easily duplicated into many copies since they are physical parts of a computer.

11. Transferable

This can be seen as the ability to be transferred. Some components are transferable, whereas others cannot be transferred using any means.

Software: as we said earlier, the software is a set of instructions, and thus, they can be transferred from one computer to another. Software is transported from one computer to another electrically.

Hardware: it is impossible to transport any physical device electrically. Therefore, Hardware is limited from being transported from one computer to another.

12. Appearance

Appearance is the main factor to differentiate one thing from another. A similar technique may be applied when drawing a comparison between Hardware and software. The appearance comes along with shapes, color, and size, and components may vary in these features.

Software: Software is a set of instructions, and thus, it is difficult to identify their shape, size, and color.

Hardware: A hardware component comes along in different colors, shapes, and sizes, and therefore it is much easier to differentiate from one component to another. Also, these characteristics can be used to differentiate between a software component and hardware components.

13. Processing speed

Software: software components usually have a processing speed that varies from time to time. This depends on the task being done by the software and other external factors like viruses.

Hardware: hardware components have a fixed processing speed.

In conclusion, it can be seen that the software and the Hardware are two different computer components that have many different features.

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