A Geographic Information System (GIS) refers to sophisticated computer software, designed to store, interpret and analyse different types of spatial data against the background of both the natural and built environment. More often than not In recent years GIS has been used by Geographers, Archaeologists and environmental scientists as a means of advancing scientific knowledge, primarily by identifying spatial relationships between different types of data and monitoring systemic changes over time.
Yet the usefulness of GIS is not precluded to academic work, as the technology is used both in city planning, synchronisation of traffic lights and civil protection to name but a few. In this respect, the capacity of GIS for modelling proposed changes to the both the human and built environment provides a means of translating real-world scientific data into a mechanism for making informed choices and policy decisions
GIS offers several benefits in environmental remediation projects. Multisource data can be integrated to pinpoint the location and extent of polluted areas, representing these as hot-spots on a digital map. This information can help to co-ordinate activities on the ground and monitoring the impact of the project over time and adds to a growing data-base documenting the project.
While GIS provides a means of documenting project impact over time, the aspect of spatial modelling and data representation offers a roadmap for future work. The placement of future collection sites and operation areas can be modelled in terms of cost, impact to the environment and financial return. Proposed developments can thus be modelled using GIS as a series of different scenarios and presented to policy holders using easy to understand graphs, charts and maps. This offers both transparency in moving the process forward and democratic platform for constructive debate and informed decision making. Certain data can also be made accessible to the general public using a range of free web-based GIS applications and create content to be used in media campaigns and press-releases.