GIS is watching you…

streetI remember being little and my grandmother asking me to look up the address while she drove, and I naturally dreaded it. Not because I was lazy but because I got really bad carsickness and had to hold this heavy book above my head so I wouldn’t get as sick. You might be reading this and thinking, a street directory? Well, I will take you quickly down memory lane. It’s a big giant heavy map you would use to navigate by following your finger along the road to figure out where you’re supposed to go. Hopefully a light bulb is going off in your head at the moment, it’s likely to be under the seat of your car collecting dust and chewing gum wrappers. You may not remember it because it simply has little use to the everyday city slicker. That’s because we use a tool called GPS, where a nice lady’s voice on our smart phone or car screen tells us where to go without me getting carsick.  To kick off the season we welcomed Borce Dimeski from the Urban Research Centre to present “GIS in Property Planning”.

gissYou’re probably thinking what do street directories have to do with a talk on property planning. Well let’s not get ahead of ourselves my fellow bloggers, because what we often take for granted, our beloved GPS among other things, exists only through a magic tool known as Geographical Information Systems (GIS). And GIS doesn’t just stop at helping us navigate, it has virtually invaded pretty much everything, particularly in the property-planning sector. For a basic intro to GIS check out the quick youtube video below. GIS aids project managers in a number of ways for example locating services on a project site so builders can find out where water mains run, along with tracking the exact location of construction trucks so the fastest route can be taken. At the end of the day GIS for developers and property planners increases efficiency and productivity, minimizing risks and time, which results in reduced costs and increased profits.

So with all of these benefits it’s hard for construction companies to say no to GIS, where its becoming an increasingly important part in all aspects of construction and property. From the get go GIS is taken advantage of through the analysis of the market, location of future sites, vehicle analysis and service location including pipes, water mains and communication cables.

But surely the accuracy of GIS being able to determine your exact location, which is of course within a 10cm buffer, can raise a few privacy if not ethical questions? Maybe I’ve been watching too many spy movies but I can’t help but think that if GIS is such a powerful tool, then maybe it is possible for big brother to be watching us and locating everything we do. big brotherMy life is so exciting and all, I’m sure Big Brother headquarters are watching my life like a soap opera (kidding obviously), or better yet, maybe in China my life is aired on TV through GIS and I’m actually a really famous celebrity over there. Okay I’ll stop with all the dramatic and highly unlikely possibilities, but because there is currently no legislation preventing this sort of invasion then these outrageous possibilities may not be that outrageous, well the China scenario might be. But you get my point. So although GIS is revolutionary for most industries and certainly many companies, it may not benefit our own personal privacy as much as it benefits property planning.

Or maybe, my GPS in my car is actually a real lady from Big Brother HQ watching and directing my every move. Hmm it might be time to pull out the old fashioned street directory from under the car seat…

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