GIS Data conversion is conversion of analog data into digital formats that can be used by a Geographical Information System (GIS). Most of the digitally stored GIS maps and images are either vector based or raster based. Raster data is organized in rows and columns. But the vector data is coordinate based with an x and y axis.
It is possible to convert a raster based image into a vector image and also vice versa. There are many types of geographical information systems. While some systems have incorporated automatic conversion of vector to raster images there are other GIS systems that routinely use only one type of data.
Data is frequently converted because they are often exchange between companies. Networking and sharing of common databases in GIS is a common feature that has developed to help in the reduction of cost and share other common benefits among organizations.
The problems that are seen during document conversion is mainly as a result of non similarity in the data models, data structures and the data media. Some of the challenges faced during conversion include,
- Different users of data
- Data used for different applications
- Data is viewed differently by different people
- Use of different hardware/software
- Single value/multiple value attribution in systems
- Incompatible data formats
It is very important to develop standards so that data can be exchanged between systems. Some of the common GIS data formats are TIFF, ARC/INFO, Interactive graphic design and DLG and GRASS formats.
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