GIS is a relatively broad term, that can refer to a number of technologies and processes, so it is attached to many operations, in engineering, planning, management, transport/logistics and analysis.
History of development
One of the first applications of spatial analysis in epidemiology is the 1832 "Rapport sur la marche et les effets du choléra dans Paris et le département de la Seine". The French geographer Charles Picquet represented the 48 districts of the city of Paris by halftone color gradient according to the percentage of deaths by cholera per 1,000 inhabitants.
In 1854 John Snow depicted a cholera outbreak in London using points to represent the locations of some individual cases, possibly the earliest use of a geographic methodology in epidemiology. His study of the distribution of cholera led to the source of the disease, a contaminated water pump (the Broad Street Pump, whose handle he had disconnected, thus terminating the outbreak) within the heart of the cholera outbreak.
E. W. Gilbert's version (1958) of John Snow's 1855 map of the Soho cholera outbreak showing the clusters of cholera cases in the London epidemic of 1854
While the basic elements of topography and theme existed previously in cartography, the John Snow map was unique, using cartographic methods not only to depict but also to analyze clusters of geographically dependent phenomena.
The early 20th century saw the development of photozincography, which allowed maps to be split into layers, for example one layer for vegetation and another for water. This was particularly used for printing contours – drawing these was a labour intensive task but having them on a separate layer meant they could be worked on without the other layers to confuse the draughtsman. This work was originally drawn on glass plates but later plastic film was introduced, with the advantages of being lighter, using less storage space and being less brittle, among others. When all...