But I have paper maps that work just fine...

Anyone who's following this blog has some awareness of GIS and what a powerful tool it can be. Throughout my various demonstrations or presentations, I am asked, "I have paper maps and CAD data, so why do I need GIS?" I usually respond with a standard set of answers: a GIS lets you edit information in real time, CAD is not to scale so your features aren't where you think they are, and so on. But what I'd really like to do is show them this...

 The Duryea Motor Trap was manufactured in present day Peoria Heights, IL in the late 1890's, when paper maps were still the standard.

The Duryea Motor Trap was manufactured in present day Peoria Heights, IL in the late 1890's, when paper maps were still the standard.

 The Volvo DL was one of the most purchased vehicles of 1982, the same year AutoCAD was introduced.

The Volvo DL was one of the most purchased vehicles of 1982, the same year AutoCAD was introduced.

Much like how the auto industry has advanced in numerous ways since the 1890's and 1982, the same has happened to mapping technology, and the results are drastically different from before. With GIS you have a program that was specifically designed for mapping out our world with accuracy and precision the likes of which have never been seen or realized. By incorporating out dated paper maps, and AutoCAD data into a GIS, you are able to create a foundation to build upon and really start to rev the engine of your organization's mapping ability.

You're able to run analytics based on a variety of features including pipes, parcels, and points on a map. This allows you to look for trends of problem areas, plan for upcoming work, and document completed projects much faster than before. GIS gives also gives you the ability to communicate location seamlessly between office and field staff. Furthermore, it is dynamic, meaning that it has the ability to be edited at any moment to reflect current conditions of a project your organization is undertaking. 

Ultimately, the point of this article is to get you to realize that yes, your old paper maps and AutoCAD data can serve a purpose for your organization. But much like both of the cars mentioned above can get you to your destination, wouldn't it make sense to drive in a vehicle that is faster, more comfortable, and safer? Like this...

 Note: Although this would be fun, we do not complete field work in a Cloudpoint Mustang

Note: Although this would be fun, we do not complete field work in a Cloudpoint Mustang