Computing Platforms

Computing Platforms provide the computational capabilities to apply methods and models to geographic data. Computing Platforms vary in capability, price, and availability from mobile devices to advanced supercomputers and from standalone computers to complex networked infrastructures to address different user needs and data-processing workloads.

Topics in this Knowledge Area are listed thematically below. Existing topics are in regular font and linked directly to their original entries (published in 2006; these contain only Learning Objectives). Entries that have been updated and expanded are in bold. Forthcoming, future topics are italicized

Computing Infrastructures:   Software Systems
Graphics Processing Units   Spatial Database Management Systems (DBMS)
The Cloud   Spatial MapReduce
Mobile Devices   Artificial Intelligence
Cyberinfrastructure   Software Systems
    Web GIS
Computing Approaches:    
History of Computing & GIS&T   Examples and Applications
High Performance Computing   Computational Geography
Grid Computing   Computational Social Science
Pervasive/Ubiquitous Computing   ArcGIS Online
Science Gateways   Google Earth Engine
Networks and Services:   Jupyter Notebooks
Location-based Services    
Internet of Things    
Social Media Analytics    
Social Networks    
OGC / Web Service Standards    


CP-05 - Technology transfer
  • Explain how an understanding of use of current and proposed technology in other organizations can aid in implementing a GIS
CP-14 - Web GIS

Web GIS allows the sharing of GIS data, maps, and spatial processing across private and public computer networks. Understanding web GIS requires learning the roles of client and server machines and the standards and protocols around how they communicate to accomplish tasks. Cloud computing models have allowed web-based GIS operations to be scaled out to handle large jobs, while also enabling the marketing of services on a per-transaction basis.

A variety of toolkits allow the development of GIS-related websites and mobile apps. Some web GIS implementations bring together map layers and GIS services from multiple locations. In web environments, performance and security are two concerns that require heightened attention. App users expect speed, achievable through caching, indexing, and other techniques. Security precautions are necessary to ensure sensitive data is only revealed to authorized viewers.

Many organizations have embraced the web as a way to openly share spatial data at a relatively low cost. Also, the web-enabled expansion of spatial data production by nonexperts (sometimes known as “neogeography”) offers a rich field for alternative mappings and critical study of GIS and society.