GIS Application Development_ Features And Process

Location isn’t just an address; it’s a powerful lens for understanding the world. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications harness the power of location data, unlocking a wealth of insights. By integrating it with other information, GIS applications reveal trends, identify opportunities, and support better decision-making. From optimizing resource allocation to mitigating environmental risks, these applications are transforming industries.

This blog dives into the features and development process of these impactful GIS applications.

What Is A GIS Application?

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a powerful tool that integrates geographic data with traditional information. It acts like a digital map cabinet, allowing users to capture, store, analyze, and display information linked to specific locations on Earth’s surface. Imagine a map where data points aren’t just places but hold information about anything from soil composition to traffic patterns. GIS lets you analyze these layers of information together, revealing hidden trends and patterns.

Businesses can leverage GIS for market analysis, pinpointing ideal locations for new stores based on demographics and competitor proximity. Even public health officials can utilize GIS to monitor disease outbreaks, identify areas with limited healthcare access, or track the spread of vaccinations. 

By bringing geographic context to any kind of data, GIS empowers users across disciplines to make better decisions, solve complex problems, and ultimately create a more informed and sustainable world.

How Does A GIS Application Work?

A Geographic Information System (GIS) application is essentially a digital tool that captures, stores, analyzes, and displays geographic data. It combines various sources of information like maps, satellite images, and even data from spreadsheets to create a layered information base.  Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

1. Data Capture  

The first step involves collecting data from various sources. This can include traditional maps, aerial photographs, satellite imagery captured by orbiting instruments, sensor information collected from ground-based equipment, and even data tables containing information like property values or traffic flow.   

2. Data Storage  

Once captured, the information is then stored in a digital format within the GIS. This data is 

typically organized in layers, where each layer represents a specific type of information.  For instance, one layer might contain data on all the rivers and streams in a particular region, while another layer might show the locations of hospitals and other healthcare facilities.   

3. Data Analysis  

GIS applications have powerful tools that allow users to analyze the data. This can involve things like identifying patterns, trends, and relationships between different data sets. For instance, a GIS can be used to overlay a layer showing crime rates on top of a layer showing income levels in a city. This type of analysis can help identify areas with higher crime rates and potentially lead to better allocation of law enforcement resources.  

4. Data Visualization  

Finally, GIS applications can use the analyzed data to generate maps and other visual outputs. These can be static maps printed on paper or digital maps displayed on a computer screen.  Modern GIS applications also allow for the creation of interactive maps.  These maps allow users to zoom in and out, explore data by clicking on specific features, and even create custom map layouts to share their findings with others.   

GIS Applications Market Size

According to GlobeNewswire, the worldwide geographic information system market is estimated to reach USD 26.15 billion by the end of 2031, rising at a CAGR of 13.07% between 2024 and 2031.

A growing GIS application market size is a strong indicator of a flourishing industry with plenty of room for new businesses and ventures. Here’s why this presents an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs and companies:

  • Increased Demand: A growing market signifies a rising demand for GIS applications. This means that businesses entering the market are likely to find a receptive audience eager to adopt their solutions.
  • Profitable Market: The expanding market size suggests that the GIS industry is profitable. Businesses entering this space have the potential to generate significant revenue by catering to this demand.
  • Room for Innovation: With a growing market, there’s always space for new ideas and innovative solutions. Businesses can address unmet needs or develop improved functionalities to stand out from the competition.

How Is GIS Application Used in Different Industries?

Ever wonder how your ride-sharing app knows the fastest route or how urban planners design efficient cities? Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are the secret weapon! In this section, we’ll dive into how GIS empowers industries from infrastructure to healthcare, helping them make smarter decisions about our world.

1. Optimizing Retail Locations  

For retail enterprises, selecting the correct location is critical to success. GIS applications may be game changers. Retailers may utilize GIS to evaluate demographics, competition locations, and traffic patterns. By overlaying this data on a map, they may pinpoint regions with a high concentration of their target audience and easy access. This allows them to determine the best sites for new businesses, increasing foot traffic and revenue.

2. Targeted Marketing 

GIS may greatly improve the effectiveness of marketing initiatives. Consider a marketing agency collaborating with a sportswear company. GIS allows them to evaluate data on demographics, income levels, and even social media activity to find neighborhoods with a high concentration of potential clients. This enables companies to target their marketing initiatives more precisely, targeting the appropriate individuals with the correct message and, as a result, generating a greater ROI.

3. Urban Planning  

City planners rely on GIS to make informed decisions about urban development and environmental issues. GIS helps them analyze data on infrastructure, land use, and environmental factors like floodplains. By visualizing this data on a map, they can identify areas suitable for new development projects,  plan transportation networks efficiently, and mitigate potential environmental risks. This enables them to create sustainable and livable cities for the future.

4. Precision Agriculture  

Farmers can leverage GIS to optimize their agricultural practices and maximize yield.  By analyzing data on soil quality, weather patterns, and historical crop yields, they can identify areas best suited for specific crops. GIS also helps with precision irrigation, allowing farmers to target water application to areas that need it most, saving water and resources.

5. Disaster Management  

Emergency response teams rely heavily on GIS during natural disasters.  GIS can be used to create real-time maps of affected areas, allowing first responders to visualize damage, locate stranded individuals, and plan evacuation routes efficiently.  Additionally, GIS helps with disaster mitigation by identifying areas prone to floods, landslides, or wildfires, enabling proactive measures to be taken.

6. Logistics and Supply Chain Management  

Logistics companies utilize GIS to optimize delivery routes and track shipments in real time.  By analyzing data on traffic patterns, road closures, and weather conditions, GIS helps plan the most efficient routes for delivery trucks, saving time and fuel.  Furthermore, real-time tracking through GIS allows for better communication with customers, keeping them informed about the status of their deliveries.

7. Historic Preservation 

Archaeologists and historians use GIS to document and analyze historical sites and artifacts.  By creating a digital map of archaeological digs, they can record findings in detail and track the spatial distribution of artifacts.  GIS also helps visualize historical changes in landscapes, allowing for a deeper understanding of past civilizations and their impact on the environment.

The Purposes of GIS Applications

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are powerful tools that unlock the potential of location-based data. By integrating information from various sources and presenting it visually, GIS applications empower users to understand the world around them in a whole new way. Here’s a closer look at the key functionalities that make GIS so versatile:

1. Data Capturing 

The journey begins with gathering information. GIS applications excel at capturing data from diverse sources. Physical maps, satellite imagery, and even spreadsheets can be integrated into the system. This comprehensive approach ensures a rich tapestry of information is available for analysis.

2. Spatial Relationships 

Imagine a map where rivers flow uphill, and buildings appear in the middle of oceans. Inaccurate spatial relationships can render data meaningless. GIS applications meticulously ensure that all captured data is precisely aligned with its geographic location. This meticulous attention to detail guarantees the map reflects reality, making it a reliable foundation for further exploration.

3. Mapping 

Not all maps are created equal. GIS applications empower users to create customized maps that focus on specific data layers. Whether you’re interested in analyzing crime patterns, visualizing population distribution, or charting the spread of a disease, GIS allows you to craft a map that highlights the information most relevant to your needs.

4. Analysis 

Data is powerful, but raw numbers and points on a map can be overwhelming. GIS applications bridge this gap by offering robust analysis tools. With a few clicks, you can identify patterns, trends, and relationships within your data. This allows you to extract meaningful insights, transforming raw information into actionable knowledge.

Must-Have Features For A GIS Application

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications are powerful tools used to visualize, analyze, and understand geographic data.  They are used in a wide range of fields, from urban planning and environmental science to logistics and marketing. To be effective, a GIS application should possess a number of key features.

1. Multi-Layer Mapping

Imagine having multiple transparent maps stacked on top of each other, each revealing a different dataset. This is the power of multi-layer mapping. It allows users to overlay various data types, such as streets on a topographic map or population density on a land cover map. This visual combination helps identify patterns, relationships, and trends across different datasets.

2. Data Visualization

Raw data can be overwhelming. GIS applications go beyond simply displaying data points. They use effective data visualization techniques like charts, graphs, and heatmaps to bring data to life.  These visuals make it easier to identify trends, outliers, and spatial relationships within the data.

3. Navigation Features

Getting around the map is crucial.  Essential navigation features include zooming in and out to see different levels of detail, panning across the map to explore different areas, and searching for specific locations by address or name. User-friendly navigation allows for intuitive exploration and analysis of geospatial data.

4. Export & Print

Sharing your findings is important. A GIS application should allow users to export maps in different formats, such as images or PDFs. This enables easy sharing with colleagues, clients, or the public. The ability to print high-quality maps is also valuable for presentations or creating physical reference materials.

5. Distance Measurement

Measuring distances is a fundamental GIS task.  The application should allow users to calculate straight-line distances or follow pathways along roads or rivers. This functionality is crucial for tasks like route planning, delivery zone analysis, or understanding the spread of disease.

6. Buffer Zone Querying

Sometimes, focusing on a specific area is vital. Buffer zone querying allows users to define a zone around a particular location and retrieve data only for that zone.  This is helpful for analyzing features within a specific radius, such as crime rates around a school or potential customers within driving distance of a store.

7. Geocoding

Geocoding bridges the gap between addresses and geographic locations. This feature allows users to translate street addresses or postal codes into corresponding x-y coordinates on the map.  This is essential for tasks like plotting customer locations or identifying service areas.

Emerging Trends In Development Of GIS Apps 

The future of GIS apps is brimming with exciting possibilities thanks to emerging trends. Here’s a glimpse into what’s on the horizon:

1. Real-time Data Integration

Imagine GIS apps that aren’t just displaying static information but constantly ingesting and visualizing real-time data. This could come from the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, social media feeds, or even traffic cameras. This real-time element will revolutionize fields like disaster management, allowing for faster response and resource allocation.

2. Augmented Reality (AR)

AR superimposes digital information into the real world.  GIS apps will leverage AR to create an immersive experience.  Imagine a phone app that shows you detailed information about buildings or infrastructure as you walk down the street. AR can also be a boon for urban planning, allowing stakeholders to visualize proposed changes in the actual landscape.

3. Citizen Science and Crowdsourced GIS Data

The rise of citizen science presents a unique opportunity for GIS.  Imagine people contributing data to environmental monitoring or infrastructure projects every day.  This crowdsourced data can be a valuable supplement to traditional GIS datasets, providing a more comprehensive and up-to-date picture.

How To Develop A GIS Application?

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications empower us to visualize, analyze, and interact with spatial data.  Developing a GIS application requires careful planning,  construction, and ongoing maintenance.  Here’s a breakdown of the key stages involved:

1. Project Planning 

The foundation of any successful GIS application is a well-defined plan. This initial phase involves:

  • Goal Setting:  What problem are you trying to solve, or what information do you want to convey?  Clearly define the purpose of your application. A well-defined goal will guide every decision you make throughout the development process, ensuring your final product is tailored to meet a specific need.
  • Data Considerations:  Identify the types of data you’ll need (e.g., maps, demographics, environmental data) and determine how you’ll acquire it (internal sources, external databases, etc.).  The data you choose will be the foundation of your application’s functionality. Consider the type of information you want to display and where you can find reliable sources to populate your map.
  • Functionality Roadmap:  Outline the features and functionalities your application will offer.  Will it allow users to search for specific locations, conduct spatial analysis, or generate reports?  Having a clear roadmap of the functionalities you want to include will help you choose the right tools and technologies during development.

By establishing a clear roadmap at the outset, you ensure your GIS application is tailored to meet its intended goals. Here are details on how to develop your geolocation application.

2. Building the App 

Once the plan is set, it’s time to translate your vision into a functional application. This stage encompasses:

  • Interface Design:  Craft a user-friendly interface that allows users to interact with the map and access features easily.  The design of your interface should be intuitive and user-friendly. Users should be able to find the information they need and interact with the map features easily.
  • Library and Map Selection:  Choose the appropriate libraries and map sources that align with your data and functionalities. Popular options include open-source libraries like Leaflet.js or commercial mapping APIs.  The libraries and map sources you select will provide the building blocks for your application. Consider factors like the type of data you’re using, the functionalities you need, and your budget when making your choices.
  • Data Manipulation Tools: Integrate tools for users to filter, analyze, and customize the data displayed on the map.  Allowing users to interact with the data is a powerful way to enhance the value of your application.  Provide tools for filtering data based on specific criteria, performing spatial analysis, and customizing the map display.

Here, the focus is on constructing the core functionalities and ensuring a smooth user experience.

3. Adding Depth 

A compelling GIS application goes beyond a basic map. This stage involves incorporating additional elements to enrich the user experience:

  • Objects and Points of Interest:  Add markers, icons, or symbols to represent real-world features relevant to your application’s purpose.  Enrich your map by including points of interest that correspond to your chosen theme. This could be anything from restaurants and stores to historical landmarks or environmental features.
  • Overlays and Thematic Maps:  Include additional thematic data layers that can be toggled on and off, allowing users to explore specific aspects of your data.  Don’t limit yourself to a single base map. Include additional thematic data layers that users can turn on and off to focus on specific aspects of your information.
  • Legend and Labels:  Provide a clear legend to explain the symbology used on the map and incorporate labels for important locations or data points.  A clear legend and well-placed labels are essential for helping users understand the information presented on your map.

By enriching the map with informative layers and overlays, you create a more comprehensive and interactive application.

4. Testing and Deployment 

Before unleashing your creation to the world, rigorous testing is essential. This stage involves:

  • Functionality Testing:  Ensure all features work as intended across different devices and browsers.  Test your application thoroughly on a variety of devices and browsers to identify and fix any compatibility issues.
  • Data Validation:  Verify that the data is displayed accurately and consistently.  Double-check your data to ensure it is accurate and presented consistently throughout the application.
  • Usability Testing:  Observe how users interact with the application and identify any areas for improvement.  Get real users to test your application and observe how they interact with it. This will help you identify any areas where the usability can be improved.

Once you’re confident in its stability and performance, you can deploy your GIS application for users to explore and utilize.

5. Maintaining Momentum 

A successful GIS application is a living entity. This final stage focuses on ensuring its continued value to users:

  • Data Updates: Regularly refresh your data to ensure it reflects the latest information.  The real world is constantly changing, and so should your GIS application. Regularly update your data with fresh information to maintain accuracy and relevance.
  • Bug Fixes:  Address any bugs or technical issues that may arise.  Even the most meticulously crafted application can encounter bugs. Be proactive in identifying and fixing any technical issues that hinder user experience.
  • New Feature Integration:  The world of GIS is constantly evolving, and user needs may change over time. Pay attention to user feedback and consider incorporating new features or functionalities that enhance the application’s value.

Top 5 GIS Applications In The Market Right Now

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) apps allow you to collect, visualize, and analyze data related to locations on a map. While some GIS software is designed for desktops, there are also many powerful mobile GIS apps available. Here are five of the most popular options:

1. MapIt  

MapIt is a popular GIS application for Android users and is widely used for environmental surveys, land surveying, and data collection. It offers a comprehensive set of features, including direct export to cloud storage, recording various feature types on layers, attribute management, location search, feature creation with measurement tools, data layer organization, local and remote export options, and marker clustering for large datasets.

2. SW Maps  

SW Maps is a free GIS application that caters to collecting, sharing, and representing geographic information. It is suitable for various use cases, from conducting high-precision GNSS surveys with external receivers to collecting location-based data using your smartphone or simply viewing shapefiles with labels on the go.  

3. Map With Us  

Map With Us is a free GIS application available on the Google Play Store. It empowers users to geolocate and upload photos, videos, and audio recordings. The app facilitates data collection and editing in the field using customizable data collection templates. Collected data can be easily exported to KML or shapefile formats, and KML or shapefiles can be imported into the MapWithUs system for further analysis.

4. MapPt – GIS Mobile Application

MapPt is a versatile GIS application used across various industries in over 130 countries. It finds applications in field mapping, land surveying, vegetation management, forestry planning, environmental management, incident reporting, farm mapping, mine management, and government planning. MapPt allows users to create, edit, store, and share geospatial information. 

5. Locus GIS – Mobile Application

Locus GIS is a new GIS application catering to both professionals and enthusiasts and is available for Android and iOS devices. It allows users to create projects, export collected data to SHP files compatible with ArcGIS software, select from premium online and offline maps, utilize advanced map tools like map overlays, offsets, and WMS sources support, and access 24/7 worldwide weather forecasts.

Development Tool For GIS Applications

GIS applications play a crucial role in various fields, allowing users to visualize, analyze, and interact with geographic data. To craft these powerful tools, developers rely on a diverse set of software and libraries. Here’s a glimpse into some of the most popular options:

1. Leaflet.js

This open-source JavaScript library empowers developers to create interactive maps for web applications. Renowned for its lightweight nature and extensive customization options, Leaflet.js is ideal for projects that require flexibility and speed.

2. OpenLayers

Another prominent open-source library, OpenLayers, caters to the development of dynamic web maps. It boasts a rich set of features, including vector layer support, powerful tools for working with geospatial data formats, and seamless integration with various web mapping services.


This free and open-source software goes beyond mapping. QGIS provides a comprehensive suite of tools for data visualization within a GIS environment. Users can leverage QGIS to create thematic maps, explore spatial relationships, and generate insightful reports. These capabilities make QGIS a valuable asset for researchers, analysts, and anyone who needs to unlock the stories hidden within geospatial data.


The explosion of complexity in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications presents a wealth of business opportunities. Imagine leveraging rich data layers and advanced analytics to revolutionize fields like environmental monitoring, urban planning, or even real estate. 

However, this complexity presents complications. Capturing various data, separating sophisticated geographical linkages, and displaying it all through a user-friendly interface necessitates a high level of development experience. 

Here’s where partnering with a skilled development company becomes crucial. They can bridge the gap between raw data and actionable insights, transforming complex GIS applications into intuitive tools that empower your business. 

How Can We Help?

In today’s data-driven world, geographic insights are crucial for success. At our development company, we specialize in crafting powerful GIS applications that unlock the potential of location-based data.

Our team of experts will turn your ideas into a customized GIS app that perfectly aligns with your needs. Whether you require real-time asset tracking, in-depth demographic analysis, or optimized route planning, we have the expertise to deliver.

Let us help you leverage the power of location to gain a competitive edge with our app development services.

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Q. How to create a GIS application?

A. Creating a GIS application involves several stages. Still, the core process can be broken down into defining your goals, choosing the right tools and data, building the application, and deploying it for use.

Q. What are the stages of GIS development?

A. The stages of GIS development typically involve planning, design, development, implementation, and maintenance. Each stage focuses on specific tasks to bring your GIS application to life.

Q. How do we reduce development time for developing a GIS app?

A. Reducing development time can be achieved through careful planning, using pre-built components and templates, and leveraging open-source tools and data whenever possible.

Q. What are the features of a GIS application?

A. The main features of a GIS application will depend on its specific purpose. Still, common functionalities include data visualization on maps, spatial analysis tools, search and query capabilities, and potential integration with other systems.

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