GIS meets Architecture – why? / by Daniel Giuffre

GIS and Data Visualisation

At the most basic level, Graphic Information Systems or GIS, is a form of gathering, managing and analysing data. It is a digital format that connects data to location-based information that is used in many different industries for a variety of tasks, including spatial analysis, environmental monitoring, real time visualisation and planning. GIS data helps reveal the ‘bigger picture’ by presenting data connected to its geographical context. “Organizations in virtually every field are using GIS to make maps that communicate problems around the world. This is changing the way the world works.”1

[Figure: QGIS interface with local Perth data]

[Figure: QGIS interface with local Perth data]

A problem with large datasets and ‘big data’ is that, in its raw form it is not easily comprehendible by humans, which is why we turn to data analysis and data visualisation. Raw data needs processing to help tease out inter-relationships, trends and correlations. The best way to visualise data is often the simplest way, as by reducing visual clutter the underlying patterns become easier to see. The quality of display in Data Visualisation is an integral part of how useful that system is.

[Figure: Snapshot of GIS data]

[Figure: Snapshot of GIS data]

Architecture and GIS

Across design, in Architecture, Landscape, Urban Design and though-out the AEC industry, we constantly work with space and make spatial decisions. 3D modelling helps us see all sides of a problem without the level of abstraction that 2D representations require.

Traditionally, dedicated GIS platforms have been 2D only, but it’s slowly becoming more common to bring in GIS data to a 3D modelling environment. 3D GIS visualisation can combine different sources of data in new and interesting ways to make the relationships between things more apparent – lines of sight and property values, infrastructural paths and vehicle flows. 2D drawings of an object rely on abstraction and conventions common in the design industry, while 3D modelling offers a more intuitive way to create and visualise designs, whether people come from a design background or not.

[Figure: Snapshot of the Rhino 3D viewport, demonstrating the 3D model generated from freely available data sets.]

[Figure: Snapshot of the Rhino 3D viewport, demonstrating the 3D model generated from freely available data sets.]

How designers can benefit from GIS data

  • Identify Real Estate Acquisition Opportunities

  • Find Undeveloped Sites

  • Visualisations and context models

  • Real time feasibilities

  • Retrieve location insights

  • Understand trends

  • Mobility and Connectivity

  • Demographics

  • Economic patterns – Travel, Spending, Real Estate