Uses of GIS in Transportation

Transportation is a crucial component of society that plays a crucial role in the movement of people, goods, and services from one place to another. It significantly impacts economic growth, social development, and environmental sustainability. GIS technology has immensely impacted transportation by refining practically every aspect of the transportation system. Authorities in many developed countries now actively use GIS for highways and transport management, mainly due to the benefits of sinking operational costs and growing ease. The most important objective of using GIS is visualization achieved through maps. With visualization of real-time data, transport planners can make navigation easier, identify potential issues that can be addressed more efficiently and economically than with the conventional methods. Through detailed GIS maps, this information can also be easily conveyed to stakeholders more effectively.

Uses of GIS in Transportation

GIS can overlay multiple layers of Geospatial data and aid transportation managers in tracking the location and condition of various infrastructures, buildings, roads and other assets. This information can be used to optimize navigation, maintenance schedules, reduce interruption, planning and extend the lifecycle of assets.


Some of the key uses of GIS in improving the transportation system are:

  • Point of Interest Data Creation: GIS can collect information and identify points of interest within the transportation network. This is done by geocoding the collected addresses to obtain accurate latitude and longitude coordinates. Geocoding can convert addresses into spatial coordinates that can be represented on maps and put to specific uses.
  • Digitization of road and street data: Roads and streets information can be collected through survey. This data and related attributes can be stored in GIS and can be used as per requirement. Classification of roads and streets is one such use.
  • 3D Building Landmark Data Creation (3DLM): 3DLM is an exclusive combination of GIS and multimedia technologies that creates geocoded real time 3D models of the landmarks such as schools, religious places, establishments etc. GIS enables the incorporation of these models into maps for better visualization and navigation.
  • 3D City Model: GIS can perform accurate georeferencing of various features of a city. This data can be linked with attributes at various levels to provide an in-depth estimation of potentials of numerous buildings, landmarks, roads etc.
  • Route planning: GIS enables the calculation and comparison of multiple routes based on various factors like distance, traffic patterns, road conditions, and speed limits. By integrating real-time data, such as traffic flow and congestion, GIS helps identify the most efficient routes, reducing travel time and fuel consumption.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment: GIS enables the integration of various geospatial data layers, including topography, land cover, vegetation, hydrology, and sensitive ecological areas. By overlaying these layers, GIS helps visualize the potential environmental impacts of roads and other transportation infrastructure on the adjacent environment.
  • Asset Mapping: GIS facilitates the inventory and management of transportation assets, including landmarks, crossings, streets, building conditions etc. By mapping and monitoring these assets, transportation agencies can prioritize maintenance and repairs based on their condition, ensuring the safety and longevity of the infrastructure.
  • Geospatial Data Integration: GIS enables the integration of various geospatial data sources, such as satellite imagery, aerial photographs, drone images and GPS data. This integration improves the accuracy of transportation planning and related activities.

Even though the advent of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has significantly enhanced transportation systems, yet numerous untapped potentials of GIS for the transportation industry remain undiscovered. As our transportation needs increase, GIS will help us plan, manage and grow intelligent transportation systems. Click here to learn more about the application of GIS for Transportation and Navigation.