Infrastructure Mapping with GIS



Infrastructure is the basic physical and organizational structure needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function.  It can be generally defined as the set of interconnected structural elements that provide a framework supporting an entire structure of development.  It is an important term for judging a country or region's development.

The term typically refers to the technical structures that support a society, such as roads, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, telecommunications, and so forth, and can be defined as "the physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions”.

Viewed functionally, infrastructure facilitates the production of goods and services, and also the distribution of finished products to markets, as well as basic social services such as schools and hospitals.  Roads, for example, enable the transport of raw materials to a factory, and finished products to the market.  In military parlance, the term refers to the buildings and permanent installations necessary for the support, operation and redeployment of military forces.  Research by anthropologists and geographers shows the social importance and multiple ways that infrastructure shapes human society and vice versa.

What do Infrastructure Users Need?

The needs of infrastructure are challenging. There is a need to manage a broad spectrum of diverse information while allowing multi-disciplinary teams to collaborate and use best-of-breed tools in their projects.

Infrastructure users need an environment where GIS and related technologies are functionality are fully integrated, allowing users to work seamlessly across lifecycle phases. Users require a fast, user-friendly design environment tailored to their job functions so they can perform at maximum efficiency. 

Also critical is inherent 3D modeling. A more lifelike, intuitive environment for users, 3D infrastructure models are becoming the new base map with infrastructure assets of all types populating and extending this geometry. This allows users to fully model and visualize the real world, whether working with full urban planning scenarios or considering local issues such as clearance from concerned departments for overhead power lines.

Because proprietary systems, data stores, and languages create information silos that hold critical data hostage and impede efficient workflows, infrastructure calls for systems which adopt standards that help users exchange data easily, rapidly, and without expensive conversion costs.

GIS for Infrastructure

GIS applications available today fulfill the needs of infrastructure GIS users in a highly productive environment based on the latest technology.  The GIS applications feature a high degree of accuracy, high-productivity design, full 3D modeling and visualization, high quality plotting, publishing, and more.  Modern GIS applications like Bentley Map, ArcGIS, ER Mapper and MapMaker are robust desktop GIS packages for mapping and infrastructure applications in their own right , providing the foundation for our industry solutions. 

The architecture of most common GIS applications offers flexibility in modeling, data persistence technology, and the use of open languages. It allows users to work connected, disconnected, or standalone as required for their workflow.  Most of these applications capitalize on Oracle, a high powered relational database management system which allows a remarkable way of customizing and configuring applications.  These applications also apply the same philosophy and technology through the server, desktop and mobile products.

Most of the GIS applications available in the market have adopted the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and is actively adopting OGC Standards.  They also offer interoperability with a variety of industry geospatial formats at the desktop or server level and as always, DWG and PDF support is provided. They can also publish information to Google Earth.


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