John Heidemann

A Microcomputer Based Geographic Information System to Provide Input to Site Specific Decision Processes

TitleA Microcomputer Based Geographic Information System to Provide Input to Site Specific Decision Processes
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1986
AuthorsL. D. Miller, M. Unverferth, D. Williss, and J. Heidemann
Date Publishedjan
Conference LocationLas Vegas, Nevada, USA

Numerous Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have been developed around minicomputers to provide a basis for computer assisted land planning processes on a state or substate regional unit. Generally, the use of these systems involved time consuming data input and analysis processes requiring the skills of professionals specifically trained in computers, spatial data management, and display techniques. The application of such techniques often has inherent timeliness limitations, as a controlling blip committee or project group must make the decisions related to the data to be input, such as cell size, formation of test scenarios, and so on. The application of the GIS concept to the analysis of dynamic, local land management processes is severely handicapped by these ``institutional constraints''. % One can assemble low-cost microcomputer systems which possess computing power, color display, memory, and storage capacity approximately equal to minicomputers. They are being used as a basis for the development of GIS that can be used by the individual professional who wants to employ a GIS as an adjunct to environmental or other resource management decision processes. Our prototype, called MIPS for Map and Image Processing System, uses the IBM PC, XT or AT computer. % All raster data input to the MIPS system is geographically referenced to the 7.5' or other U.S. Geological Survey topographic map series in any cell size selected by the user. Satellite images are extracted directly from magnetic tape and geocalibrated into 7.5' image maps for visual or automatic interpretation into land cover maps. Polygonal map data recorded on 7.5' maps (e.g., a soils map redrawn on a 7.5' map base) can be directly and easily rasterized to the selected cell size using an interactive paint-by-numbers scheme which requires a few hours per map for both inputing and editing. Elevation data and its derivatives, such as aspect and slope, can be extracted and interpolated into the appropriate cell size from Digital Terrain Map (DTM) tapes or 7.5' Digital Elevation Model (DEM) tapes distributed by the USGS. Cultural, cadastral, hydrological, and other linear data are extracted from the 7.5' or 1:100,000 Digital Line Graphs (DLG) being prepared by the USGS. Using only the resources of microcomputer, the professional can assemble these and other inputs with MIPS and perform all usual GIS functions in a user friendly and timely | fashion.