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What to Know About Global Information Systems

Global information systems (GIS) comprise technologies and software that compile, interpret and display data gathered from various sources to provide researchers, planners and businesses with insights that support effective decision-making.

GIS is similar to but distinct from geographic information systems, which collect, organize and analyze data to combine maps and descriptive information. For instance, public health officials at all levels of government used information systems to create web-based interactive dashboards and keep the public informed of the spread and impact of COVID-19.

GIS global systems are also known as international information systems (IIS). While “GIS” is often used interchangeably for regional and global systems, GIS/IIS is distinct in that they support communication among decision-makers in multiple countries — either governments, international planners or multinational businesses — so all see the same thing simultaneously.

According to Wharftt, “the current trend of globalization is putting increasing emphasis on global information systems.” As Wharftt notes, GIS are designed to manage data from diverse international sources, enabling planners to cross-reference data to obtain relevant information.

Through programs like Murray State University’s online Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) with a concentration in Information Security, information security specialists can gain an advanced understanding of how to address complicated issues related to global information systems.

What Data Sources Do Information Systems Use to Support Global Solutions?

GIS supports data-driven decision-making in fields as diverse as environmental and natural resource management to sustainable agriculture and supply chain optimization by compiling and analyzing data from sources including:

  • High-resolution satellite imagery of geographic information on a global scale
  • Remote sensing technologies such as using Lidar, which tracks significant atmospheric events and maps deep-sea floors
  • Government and private sector databases containing demographic, infrastructure, land use, consumer behavior, market trends and economic information

Among the data sources available to GIS engineers and scientists, NASA’s open-access Earthdata resource provides databases, articles and other digital resources to help planners track world health and air quality issues; process, visualize and analyze oceanic data; and project the impact of large wildfires. “The combination of remotely sensed data with data collected by national and sub-national government agencies (such as census, disease, species diversity, and similar data) enables investigations into the impact of human activities on Earth,” according to the space agency.

How Do Businesses Use Global Information Systems?

Supply chain optimization is a critical factor in the efficient operations of all businesses, regardless of size, in the age of globalization.

The COVID-19 global shutdown exposed the fragility of complex and interrelated processes of demand forecasting, procurement and logistics operations. As a result, companies are integrating GIS more fully into their supply chain operations to optimize:

  • Real-time visibility up and down the supply chain to track global shipments and inventory
  • Efficiencies in transportation routing to reduce time and costs
  • Risk management using geographical data to respond quickly to natural disasters, geopolitical instability and other disruptions
  • Inventory management by analyzing demand patterns to avoid overstocking or shortages
  • Supplier networks by identifying potential business partners and evaluating their performance to gain overall supply chain efficiency

“With the implementation of global supply chain management systems, businesses can effectively overcome the challenges and reap the benefits of a globally interconnected market,” Insightvity says.

What Makes Global Information Systems Different From Other Information Systems?

There are several types of information systems, including expert systems that use artificial intelligence to simulate human problem-solving, automation systems that reduce costs and improve efficiencies and process controls that use input-output loops to optimize performance.

While GIS uses specific data for unique applications, it comprises the same components as all information systems: hardware, software, data sources, networks and human expertise.

“Human experts capable of understanding and manipulating data are essential to any information systems strategy,” Zapier says, and demand for professionals with IS expertise is growing with the size and complexity of datasets.

An MSIS with a concentration in Information Security is an ideal way to gain high-demand skills and insights for roles in systems analysis (10% growth rate through 2032) and information security (32% growth rate).

The accredited MSIS Information Security program offered online by Murray State University, for instance, equips graduates with the expertise to model, monitor and analyze data, plan information systems projects and address complex issues in the global information systems context.

Learn more about Murray State University’s online Master of Science in Information Systems with a concentration in Information Security program.

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