Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a Tool in Reducing a Community’s Ecological Footprint

  • Rod SchatzEmail author
  • Doug Walker
  • Jaap de Kroes
  • Gustavo Arciniegas
  • Paul Getz
  • Anshuman Khare
Part of the Springer Environmental Science and Engineering book series (SPRINGERENVIRON)


A geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographically referenced data (Foote and Lynch 2000; Burrough and McDonnell 1998; Bernhardsen 2008). GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries (user-created searches), analyze spatial information, edit data, maps, and present the results of all these operations in real time. In recent times, GIS has become an indispensable tool for city planners in designing urban areas or renewing existing neighborhoods and visualizing the impact of their decisions. To accommodate the growth of cities and to address complex economic, environmental and social challenges, municipalities are broadening the use of local and regional information to assist in more effective decision-making regarding matters of local and regional importance. As this chapter demonstrates, GIS tools can assist municipalities in future planning through design process synthesis and integration, namely the implementation of the land use, transportation, housing, and energy plans. The discussions in this chapter will focus on how this tool can be used to educate and engage audiences in reducing the ecological footprint of a community by touching on issues such as housing transportation development of green spaces and overall ensuring a good quality of life for communities. Success stories from North America and Europe highlight the experience of the communities who are using GIS to this purpose.


Geographic information system (GIS) Scenario planning Climate change Urban planning 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rod Schatz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Doug Walker
    • 2
  • Jaap de Kroes
    • 3
  • Gustavo Arciniegas
    • 4
  • Paul Getz
    • 5
  • Anshuman Khare
    • 6
  1. 1.Alidade StrategiesEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Placeways LLCColoradoUnited States
  3. 3.MapsupTerschuurNetherlands
  4. 4.MapsupTerschuurNetherlands
  5. 5.City of ArnhemArnhemNetherlands
  6. 6.Operations ManagementAthabasca UniversitySt. AlbertCanada

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