Gis applications in tourism

Updated April 17, 2017

Many professional disciplines use Geographical Information Systems to manage, analyse and display large amounts of data in a digital map format. Economists, geologists, environmental planners and archaeologists all use GIS applications to analyse data and better plan their activities. This data can be configured, displayed on a map and analysed for many purposes.

Impact to the Tourist

Tourism has historically been dependent on the character of the destination, including attractions, beaches and resorts. GIS data can have a tremendous impact in the tourism industry, bringing custom refined data to the end user, the tourist, regarding any specific area. This GIS and GPS systems can draw visitors to an otherwise unknown area based on what it has to offer the tourist.

Tourism Development

GIS can play a significant role in tourism development. Coupled with other systems, such as Global Positioning Systems, Computer Assisted Drafting and remote sensing, GIS becomes a dynamic tool that incorporates changes instantly to the database that occur over time. Community leaders and planners can use GIS to provide the real-time data they need to make decisions, such as economic, social and environmental factors, to assist them in tourism planning.

Basemap Development

GIS provides digital information that can be used for the development of printed maps for brochures, attraction maps and other advertising. This same information can be used to create printable maps or visual references for tourism-related websites, allowing travellers to explore and plan their trip before it begins.

Digital Information

GIS data provides digital files for Internet and mobile mapping. This data is used by applications such as Mapquest and Google Maps to provide online mapping as well as mobile applications for automobile GPS systems and smart phones. This digital information is becoming more commonplace with travellers. It is critical for the tourism industry to contribute data to these systems to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Interactive Applications

Tourists are able to create customised maps along historic routes, such as the Oregon Trail. Tourists can map historical societies that no longer exist, walking tours of historic areas, paddling routes, hiking and walking trails. You can download maps to portable electronic devices or print them while on the vacation itself.

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About the Author

Eric Duncan is a military veteran and a professional in the safety, travel and aviation industries. Duncan has been writing since 2002 for magazines, newspapers, local business literature and on such websites as He has earned his Bachelor of Science in professional aeronautics and his Master of Business Administration.