difference between gps and gis

GPS vs GIS: Understanding the Varied Applications and Capabilities

The modern-day is filled with amazing technologies that allow the modern homo sapiens to reach what was unreachable 20 or 30 years ago, which navigates us to the topic of GPS and GIS technologies that have been with us this whole time, guiding us throughout the world the most magnificent places on Earth. GPS and GIS are technologies that even an unborn child will be familiar with, as is their popularity and utilization. However, one may ask, “What is the difference between GPS and GIS? We will talk about the technologies of GPS and GIS while covering the differences and specialties of those as well.

What Is The GPS, And How Does It Work?

GPS, one of the most known mechanisms of the modern world, is an abbreviation of Global Positioning System which is now used worldwide for many industries and areas of our day-to-day life. A GPS is most known for its ability to navigate and provide locations. A GPS utilizes a GPS unit, a receiver established in an area exposed to the direct sky as this receiver collects signals that arrive from the satellites.

As these receivers obtain signals through satellite technology, they must be exposed to a huge space of sky, so they cannot be placed in forests or near tall buildings. The signals are transmitted from the satellite to the receivers at the speed of light while it reaches the final destination with a slight time difference.

What Is GIS, And How Does It Differ From GPS?

GIS is another mechanism that has been living and supporting life on Earth immensely. It is an abbreviation of Geographic Information System, used mostly to design maps and analyze geographical locations. Unlike GPS, GIS is a computerized system that analyses and can obtain reports based on the analyzed data. This mechanism uses data attached to one specific location at a time.

Moreover, GIS does not gather data; it obtains the data from another mechanism like GPS and analyses it into useful information, which different companies most often purchase. Furthermore, GIS analyses the locations of farms, streams, and elevation, and it can predict the weather and the climate depending on the analyzed information.

How Does GPS Collect And Provide Location Data?

As we mentioned earlier, the technology of GPS has been around for about 20 years or more, and it uses a GPS unit known as a receiver. These GPS units receive signals from the 24 satellites that cover the entire geographical vision of the Earth while standing in precise orbits circling the Earth. These satellites transmit signals to the GPS units (receivers), originally designed to determine the location by calculating the time the signal took to reach the desired destination.

The calculation is done by gathering the time slots from at least four satellites, as the radio waves have a constant speed throughout the journey.

What Are The Main Components Of A GIS System?

A GSI system allows users to obtain information about maps, the Earth, and many more geographical locations. However, the GSI system requires five main components to operate properly. Those components are,

  • Hardware – a device in which the GSI system could work without storage or the operating system.
  • Software – you will need the GSI software to function on your device.
  • People – the GSI system needs people for the management procedure of the software.
  • Methods – the system needs a proper plan for the execution of its functions
  • Data – the data collected by other systems are needed to process output.

What Are The Main Components Of A GIS System?

What Is The Connection Between GIS And GPS?

The connection between the world-famous locating technologies GPS and GIS can be analyzed in many ways as the world continues to grow and glow these modern technologies and their interconnected relationships. The GPS and GIS systems are like a yin-yang; neither can exist without the other nor has any meaning of existence without the other.

Thus, as we mentioned earlier, the GPS is the main technology that can collect data on any geographical location on Earth or in outer space. At the same time, the GIS system can analyze and utilize such data for better or worse opportunities on Earth.

A GIS system is an analyzing software requiring some specific components for its proper function. One of those components which were mentioned above is data. The GIS system does not accumulate data, nor does it has the ability to do so. Therefore it has to acquire data from other systems like GPS.

Now you might understand the connection between the GPS and GIS systems. If the GIS system is a computer to which GPS data becomes the input, then the GIS software and its analyzing process becomes the process. At last, obtaining information, reports, and maps is the output of this entire technological interconnection.

What Is The Difference Between GPS And GIS?

Just as there is a connection between these two, there is also a huge difference. Just like yin yang, which resembles the good and the bad, the GPS and the GIS resemble separate purposes which serve different communities. As mentioned earlier, the GPS is a service that highly and solely depends on the satellite’s survival, which provides signals to the GPS units on Earth (receivers), which allows this technology to provide location and navigation services. Thus, GPS, known for its locating skill, can be utilized in any social arena to locate anything pets, bags, cars, people, and anything in your heats desire by inserting a GPS chip.

However, as we describe the GPS above, GIS takes a different root as it is a device-based system that requires the completion of basic components of a system (input, process, output) to satisfy its ultimate purpose. The GIS system needs data allocated by other services of systems like GPS to suffice the needs of the software user. Moreover, while GPS becomes a data provider, the GIS becomes an information provider. Also, as GPS becomes famous for its locating feature, the GIS becomes popular for its drastic advancements and operations in various geographical fields.

Video Credits: GIS Simplified YouTube Channel

How Accurate Is GPS Compared To GIS?

Both the mechanisms that we have been discussing above have done a huge service to mankind and still are doing so. Thus the accuracy of both these technologies is not in a state to be questioned. However, it is stated that most often, GOS users require colossal extremity of the accuracy in the placement feature provided by the GIS technology within a distance of one meter or less. However, when it comes to GPS, professional or survey-graded GPS are very much known for their accuracy within a centimeter distance.

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