The GIS has various applications to which it can be used. These applications include the following:

  1. Defence: Geographic Information System (GIS) plays a pivotal role in military operations as they are essentially spatial in nature. The concepts of command, control, communication and coordination in military operations are largely dependent on availability of accurate information in order to arrive at quick decisions for operational orders. In the present digital era, GIS is an excellent tool for military commanders in the operations. The use of GIS applications in defence forces has revolutionized the way in which these forces operate and function. The GIS is popularly useful to the army, navy, police and air-force. The military command which requires information fast and uses it fast to position themselves in a future war. The military forces use GIS in a variety of application include:
  • Cartography.
  • Intelligence.
  • Battle field management.
  • Terrain analysis.
  • Remote sensing.
  • Military installation management.
  • Monitoring of possible terrorist activities.


  1. Agriculture: The GIS application in agriculture examines ways that this powerful technology can help farmers produce a greater abundance of crops and livestock with more efficiency and at a lower cost. The GIS application in agriculture includes;
  • Production of quality crops with high yields.
  • Production of livestock animals with maximum outputs within a short period of time in cattle, ship, goat, pig, poultry, etc.
  • It accesses the quality of soil nutrients and its possible improvement through fertilizers and manure.
  • It also provides possible means of storage of food produce for future uses.
  • It also provides possible means of cultivating crops using irrigation system especially during the dry season.


  1. Urban Development: The GIS is also useful and it is applicable to urban development. GIS database provides invaluable inputs not only for planning of infrastructure like roads, sewage and drinking water but also helps manage important services to various stakeholders. Proper GIS database provides crucial planning inputs for urban development in the following ways:
  • Infrastructural planning.
  • Land use planning.
  • Environmental planning.
  • Slum development planning.
  • Local economic development.
  • Livelihood support.
  • Planning related to health and education.


  1. Mapping: One of the basics for GIS is mapping. People have learned to use and appreciate the value of “new media” maps and GIS can exploit this. Maps are used for the following purposes:
  • People use maps for many activities e.g. to communicate and convey large amounts of information.
  • To find certain pattern e.g. crime median age.
  • To view information overtime.
  • To derive new information using certain analysis.
  • To communicate ideas, concepts and designs.
  • To get status report.
  • To compile geographical information i.e. to compile and maintain information inventories (e.g. hydrology, soils, geology, transportation and boundaries).


  1. Surveying: The GIS is also applicable or useful in surveying. The GIS software provide the tools to capture and create new data with advance mobile capabilities that can improve field data collection, inventories and integration in land surveying. Land development through surveying involves several areas to consider which include the following:
  • Site geometrics.
  • Roadways.
  • Drainage systems.
  • Utilities.
  • Property boundaries.
  • Building site.


  1. Transport: The GIS is an information system specializing in the input, management, analysis and reporting of geographical information on transport system. GIS is applicable to transport in the following ways:
  • GIS helps to improve trafficability of all the roads.
  • GIS helps the airplanes to fly with ease in the air including its departure and landing.
  • It also prevents the incidence of sky hazards both on land and in the air.
  • It also helps sailors to sail in water bodies including its departure and arrival to its destinations.


  1. Census: The application of Geographic Information System (GIS) in the socioeconomic sciences is rapidly growing, especially for census data, which is a powerful tool for world development and poverty reduction. As at now, all countries of the world are using some element of GIS in conducting their population censuses. GIS as a computer-based system allows geographically referenced information to be captured, stored, edited, displayed, analyzed and printed. With this device, the census of any country can be analyzed to bring out the following facts.
  • Population size.
  • Revenue estimates.
  • Forecasts future economic needs.
  • Determination of level of unemployment.
  • Determination of standard of living.
  • Formulation of economic policies.
  • Number of immigrants.
  • Distribution of resources.
  • Provision of social amenities.
  • Investment decisions.
  • Reveals level of manpower.
  • Allocation of parliamentary seats.



The mere presence of an implementation plan does not guarantee the success of GIS. Most organizations do not have sufficient staff to cope with the commitment and extra work required when introducing a GIS to existing operations. Several pitfalls exist that most often contribute to the failure of a GIS implementation strategy. These are identified below:

  1. Failure to identify and involve all Users: Users in an operational GIS environment consist of operations and policy levels of the organization. All three levels should be considered when identifying the needs of your users.
  2. Failure to match GIS capability and needs: A wide spectrum of GIS hardware and software choices currently exists. The buyer is presented with a significant challenge making the right choice. Remember, the right choice will be the GIS that provide the needed performance no more, no less for the minimum investment. The success of a GIS implementation is particularly sensitive to the right hardware and software choices.
  3. Failure to identify total costs: The GIS acquisition cost is relatively easy to identify. However, it will represent a very small fraction of the total cost of implementing a GIS. Ongoing costs are substantial and they include hardware maintenance, staffing, system administration, initial data updating, custom programming and consulting fees.
  4. Failure to conduct a pilot study: The GIS implementation plan concerns itself with the many technical and administrative issues and their related cost impacts. Three of the most crucial issues are database design, data loading and maintenance and day-to-day operations. The pilot study will allow you to gather detailed observations, provided it is properly designed, to allow you to effectively estimate the operational requirements.
  5. Giving the GIS implementation responsibility to the EDP department: Because of the distinct differences of the GIS from conventional EDP systems, the GIS implementation team is best staffed by non-data processing types. The specialized skills of the “GIS analyst” are required at this stage. Reliance on conventional EDP personnel who lack these skills will ensure failure.
  6. Failure to consider technology transfer: Training and support for on-going learning, for in-house staff as well as new personnel, is essential for a successful implementation. Staff at the three levels should be educated with respect to the roles of the GIS in the organization. Education and knowledge of the GIS can only be obtained through on-going learning exercise. Nothing can replace the investment of hands on time with a GIS.



Several problems are militating against the GIS implementation in Nigeria. These problems are:

  1. Inadequate Power: One of the major problems of GIS implementation in Nigeria is inadequate is inadequate power (i.e. electricity). Electricity supply in Nigeria is grossly erratic and inadequate. This has made it impossible to develop, implement and effective GIS. Efforts should be made by government to provide stable and dependable electricity in the country.
  2. Inadequate Personnel: The needed experts to set up and operate the GIS are grossly inadequate. Many of our personnel lack the needed expertise and knowledge to operate a successful GIS.
  3. Inadequate Capital: There is generally lack of fund or capital to set up GIS. There is scarce foreign exchange in the country and this is responsible for low GIS development and implementation and this has constitutes a serious bottleneck to the acquisition of the necessary computer hardware and software.
  4. Poor Communication: There is basically poor communication in the system which has militated against GIS implementation in Nigeria. People do not respond to E-mail messages. They are not fluent in spoken English language; there is gross discrimination against non- English speakers especially when talking about very technical topics and detailing complex processes and interactions.
  5. Low technology transfer: Efforts have not been made in Nigeria to ensure technology transfer on GIS matters. Without an efficient and effective technology transfer, it will be very impossible to develop and implement GIS in Nigeria.
  6. Lack of GIS institutions: There is lack of institutional environment that can promote GIS implementation in Nigeria. Institutional environment such as is provided by a university or multinational organization with its own standby electricity generating set, is still the most ideal for operating a GIS established in a developing country such as Nigeria.
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