GEOTECHNOLOGIEN in everyday life

My supermarket is just around the corner ...

Supermarket IMSI MasterClips
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How far are you to the nearest supermarket? In the city, they probably need no more than ten minutes on foot, maybe even just around the corner. That this is so, is most likely no coincidence. For it is precisely the big grocery chains that are no longer hiring or building a new outlet "somewhere", but specifically where there may still be supply gaps, and thus a potential sales market.

To find out where this is the case, they use a technology that has meanwhile crept into almost every area of ​​our everyday lives - the GIS. Without the geographic information systems, much of what surrounds and is needed by us would either be missing, miles away, or look very different. Whether the bus stop around the corner, the mobile phone network or the new hospital in our district where we can be brought quickly in an emergency - they were all probably planned and realized on the basis of a geographic information system.

Discount stores or luxury brands?

For our supermarket operators, this means that they first collect data on the existing shopping possibilities of the possible locations. How far are the nearest supermarkets? Which type do you belong to? How is the traffic connection? But also the population structure is examined under the magnifying glass: live here perhaps particularly many families with children? Or more elderly people? Is it more a residential area of ​​"better earners" or, more importantly, people with lower incomes?

To decide whether a new store is worthwhile, and whether the new supermarket is a high-end store, or rather a low-priced discount store, all this data needs to be evaluated and, above all, combined. And this is exactly where the GIS helps: Instead of confusing data series, it "spits out" a map at the end, on which ideally colored markings show exactly which locations would be favorable for which supermarket type or not.

And what does that have to do with GEOTECHNOLOGIEN?

At first glance, hardly anything, it seems. But the impression is deceptive. Because without the preparatory work of geographers and geoinformatists who developed the GIS in the 1970s, site searches like these would be considerably more time-consuming and risky today. And the GIS development work is far from over: the amounts of data that have to be used and billed for the most diverse applications are becoming ever more numerous - both for everyday questions and in science. In some cases, existing geographic information systems are already reaching their limits. display

And this is exactly where the geoscientists and computer scientists of the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN program are doing pioneering work: their goal is to develop intelligent systems that not only process huge amounts of data, but also combine and integrate data from diverse, networked databases. Initially developed primarily for geoscientific tasks, the underlying technology could also benefit everyday life in the future - just like today's GIS.

(, 01.12.2003 - NPO)