Augmenting Organizational Knowledge Management Using Geographic Information Systems

Augmenting Organizational Knowledge Management Using Geographic Information Systems

Colbert Mutiso Jackson (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa) and Dickson Kinoti Kibetu (Chuka University, Kenya)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3473-1.ch036
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Abstract

Many firms are realizing that to thrive in complex and dynamic environments, they must be swift and flexible in their operations. Key decisions are now becoming more dependent on understanding and coding complex information acquired from knowledge management systems. GIS technology has the ability to incorporate this requirement. GIS has developed into an important part of many disciplines and cuts across all areas of the modern information society. It offers a framework for planners to devise things more efficiently. Thus GIS is a computing application capable of creating, storing, manipulating, visualizing, analyzing and interpreting geographical data in many ways that show relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts. Thus, this chapter emphasizes the role of knowledge management for the development of organizations, and therefore, the importance of GIS in organizational knowledge management. The key issues and strategies for effective and efficient organizational knowledge management using GIS are discussed.
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Background

The contemporary beginnings of KM can be traced back to the late 1980s, through to the 1990s (Edwards et al., 2009). The KM concept was first applied in fields, such as information systems, business administration, healthcare, public policy, and library and information sciences (Bennet & Bennet 2008). It is assumed that approximately 80 per cent of data employed in creating information and knowledge in organizations have spatial components (Fitzke & Greve, 2010). Thus, spatial-based information systems can significantly contribute to effective knowledge management activities (Gürder & Yılmaz, 2013). GIS technology can link geographical datasets by use of spatial references through a process known as geocoding (Gürder & Yılmaz, 2013). The spatial reference can be given by coordinates (Nikolli & Idrizi, 2010). Therefore, addresses can be correctly located on a map with the help of the address coordinates (Zandbergen, 2007). According to Strand (2016), “This kind of references allows the observations to be linked by location, providing for new approaches to data collection, new opportunities for data analysis and more use of maps as a visualization and communication tool.” Thus, by applying GIS-functions more information will be generated, information which will allow businesses to conduct analyses, and to carry out new queries and assessments on particular problems (Gürder & Yılmaz, 2013). Non-spatial (attribute) data describe the properties of spatial entities (Gürder & Yılmaz, 2013). The salary and/or age, for example, of a shopper living at a particular address, are attribute data. The address remains a geographical data. A geodatabase warrants that geographical data and attribute data are connected to each other (Gürder & Yılmaz, 2013). The GIS capability to perform spatial analysis can be considered to be the same as the decision capabilities of decision support systems (DSS) (Mennecke, 1996). This enhances their distinguished significance to support basic organizational tasks (Belsis et al., 2004). Thus, spatial-based information systems will contribute to operational knowledge management activities (Gürder & Yılmaz, 2013).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Decision Support System (DSS): A computer system that, collects, organizes, and analyzes data so as to promote quality decision-making within an organization.

Triangular Irregular Networks (TIN): They are a digital means to show surface morphology, and are constructed by triangulating a set of vertices.

Decision Making: The process of choosing a reasonable alternative from the available options.

Digital Elevation Model (DEM): A three-dimensional computer graphics representation of continuous elevation values over a terrain's surface.

Geocoding: The positioning of addresses or spatial objects on the map.

Database: A structured set of data stored in a computer, managed and maintained for the purpose of easy access to the desired information.

Organization: A social unit of people that is structured and managed to achieve a particular need or to pursue collective goals.

Geographic Information System (GIS): A computer system used in capturing, storing, manipulating, analyzing, managing, and visualizing geographical data.

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