10 Applications of GIS in Urban Planning

10 Applications of GIS in Urban Planning

Urban planning is a process that is concerned with the land being used and the environment around it. The use of Geographic Information System technology is essential in the analysis of the growth in the urban areas and the direction that the growth is taking. This is effective and important in finding suitable sites for further development of urban areas. However, identifying the sites for urban growth is a crucial matter, which needs to be put into consideration. Some of the factors which need to be put into consideration include whether the land should be vacant, whether it should be flat or not, its accessibility and the usage value.


1. Analyzing the existing situation

The application of GIS in urban planning helps in the analysis, storage, and manipulation of both the physical, economic and social data provided in a city. This allows planners to adopt and use the available mapping functions in analyzing the situation at hand in the city. In urban planning, there is the usage of map overlay analysis, which applies GIS in the identification of the areas of conflict of the land development. In addition to that, area which is considered environmentally sensitive are identified using other relevant environmental information, and remote sensing technique. The information provided helps in making informed decisions, which will affect both the current and the future planning of an area.

2. Resource Inventory

The collection of land use and environmental information is essential in urban planning. This is usually a time-consuming exercise because human beings do it manually and even when done in computers, one gets tired quickly because he or she is required to input the data manually. Using geographical information, together with remote sensing helps in the timely collection of both the environmental and land use information. In urban areas, remote sensing images are becoming an essential source of getting three-dimensional information for urban areas. The use of land and any changes that may occur in urban areas are detected using the above techniques.

3. Modeling and Projection

Planning is important in urban areas because it helps in making informed decisions about certain areas. The main reason as to why planning is essential is that it helps in the projection of the future population and identifies the levels of economic growth. Modeling and spatial distribution has made it possible to estimate the widest range of the impacts of the existing population and record any change in both the economy and the environment. Using GIS map overlay analysis helps in identifying areas, which may be facing a crisis. Data stored in GIS, both environmental and socioeconomic have helped in the development of environmental planning models. In turn, this has helped in identifying the areas of concern and the development of the conflict.

4. Selecting Planning Options

Selecting the final planning option is a political process. However, planners are able to provide technical inputs to the process to help in making informed decisions. Different planning scenarios can be evaluated through the integration of both the spatial and non-spatial models present in the Geographic Information Systems. Moreover, GIS helps in the provision of technical inputs in the selection of the various planning options. The data that is provided by the Geographic Information Systems and the analysis that has been done is used to make the informed political decisions. This is done to ensure that planning is designed and executed in the correct manner, at the right time.

5. Developing planning options

Urban planning can only be successful when the best available option is put to use. The development and planning have proved very useful with the help of land suitability maps. Identifying the solution space for future developments require that the land suitability maps are considered. Geographic Information Systems help in the formulation and the development of planning options, which minimize or maximize some of the objective functions.

6. Plan Application

Using GIS helps in the implementation of urban plans. This is done by carrying out the assessment of the environmental impact of the proposed projects, in order to evaluate and minimize the impact of development on the environment. Different measures can be recommended to do away with the impacts. The assessment of environmental impact required the use of detailed and accurate estimations of data and effect analysis. The application of GIS in this process ensures that the desired outcome is achieved.

7. Designing and mapping neighborhood cities

Geographic Information Systems helps engineers, surveyors, and planners by providing them with tools that they require in designing and mapping their neighborhood cities. The most frequently used GIS functions in the making of a plan include spatial analysis, visualization, and spatial modeling. Furthermore, GIS can be used in the storing, manipulation and analysis of physical data, economic and social data of a city. The existing situations in the city can be analyzed through the mapping functions of Geographic Information Systems. In addition, GIS is applied in urban planning to help in the identification of the areas of conflict of land development in relation to the environment.

8. Monitoring an area

GIS is important in conducting a study of a specific location for a specific purpose. This is done to ensure the security of the people, the environment and the land in question. Additionally, Geographic Information Systems also aid in monitoring the area, for instance, before a bridge is built, an assessment has to be done to ensure that the location is suitable and convenient for the construction of the bridge.

9. Feasibility studies

The feasibility studies of areas such as schools and hospitals can be carried out perfectly using Geographic Information Systems. It also shows whether the area in question has the possibility for the disposal of waste and treatment. Consequently, it helps in the identification of any changes, which may occur in geographical areas and land over a stated period. Having access to such information enables professionals to make informed and long term decisions about the development of an area, and plan appropriately.

10. Quality life enhancement

Citizen participation is required to aid in the development process of the urban areas. Planners take advantage of and use Geographic Information Systems to aid in the citizen participation process and the input that the community is bringing forth to develop a vision and to improve on the quality of life of the citizens. Citizens make a country and their feedback on whatever planers want to do is very crucial. Their opinion regarding what needs to be done to make the country look more appreciable and smarter is important. This can also be helpful in creating out productive and effective methods for urban planning. Public participation platforms aids in this effective process which requires the engagement of the public.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Abdullah Riaz

    spatial data and non spatial data tell me

  2. Paul Ukpa

    I like the information goting from this site pls can i have the references

  3. Apeda Rondo

    This information very useful and descriptive

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