This study is about the development of an Internet-based geographic information system (GIS) applications for transportation engineering that combines spatial-temporal data, models and users in a single effective framework for planning, engineering and operation for a wide range of transportation applications. By relating seemingly unrelated data, GIS can help individuals and organizations better understand spatial patterns and relationships. The functional requirements of the system are summarized by considering various activation technologies such as Internet tools, large-scale databases and distributed computing systems. Furthermore, the future transportation systems can be easily affected and calculated by transportation engineers. Application problems and models necessary to support the system are briefly discussed.


Keywords: Geographic information systems (GIS), Transportation engineering, Intelligent transportation systems, data-based map, Locations.


The road network around the world operated in vastly different social, economic and climatic environments. The planning and management of such a huge network in each country has been primarily done in two important level example national and local level. The national level planning in the country is broad based and is done using some macro level data like area, gross domestic product etc., whereas local level planning is problem specific and confined to a vicinity of a few metropolitan cities. The major planning in different aspects of road network can be attributed to the lack of availability of large volume of data required for this purpose. Even if this data is made available, the next problem is how to manage and access that data. Thus, practically the present available data at a large number of locations in all possible formats are waste and resources spent for collection and maintenance of this data is draining the economy as a routine ritual and not fulfilling the objectives. Therefore, nowadays data-based applications such as Geographic Information System collect an manage data’s in easier way.

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface. By relating seemingly unrelated data, GIS can help individuals and organizations better understand spatial patterns and relationships (National Geographic, 2012). Transportation systems are complex entities that require substantial data to be monitored, controlled, maintained and improved, as well as various elaborate models to help a diverse group of agencies to operate the system. These applications controlling and running by engineers, climate experts, infrastructures etc.

Transportation engineering is a branch of civil engineering that is involved in the planning, design, operation, and maintenance of safe and efficient transportation systems. These systems include roadways, railways, waterways, and intermodal operations. Typically, the demand is the amount of traffic (people, cars, railcars, barges) that is expected to use a particular transportation facility, while the supply is the quantity and type of infrastructure components (roadways, bridges, pavements, etc.). These systems are typically large and expensive (Civil engineering bible, 2009).

The integration between Transportation Engineering and Geographic Information System are basically Transportation is geographically natural and therefore GIS has a technology that has the potential to create new applications, as well as achieve striking gains in efficiency and productivity for traditional applications. GIS applications to transportation Data collection; Data integrator; or Data analysis. GIS application areas in transportation encompass all traditional areas of responsibility of a highway agency.

1.1. Role of GIS

Geographic Information System (GIS) perform a new paradigm for the organization of information and design of information systems, the important aspect of which is use of the concept of location as the basis for the structuring of information systems. The application of GIS has applicability to transportation due to the essentially spatially distributed nature of transportation related data, and the need for various types of network level analysis, statistical analysis and spatial analysis and manipulation. Most transportation impacts are dimensional. At GIS application, the transport network database is generally extended by integrating many sets of its attribute and spatial data through its linear referencing system. Furthermore, GIS will aid integration of all other socio-economic data with transport network database for wide variety of planning functions (Pankaj, Neelam, & Sikdar, 2009).

1.2. How GIS works?

GIS technology applies geographic science with tools for understanding and combination. It helps people reach a common goal: to gain actionable intelligence from all types of data.



Figure 1.  How GIS works: Maps (a), Data (b), Analysis (c), Apps (d).

Maps are the geographic container for the data layers and analytics you want to work with. GIS maps are easily shared and embedded in apps, and accessible by virtually everyone, everywhere.

GIS integrates many different kinds of data layers using spatial location. Most data have a geographic component. GIS data includes imagery, features, and base maps linked to spreadsheets and tables.

Spatial analysis lets you evaluate suitability and capability, estimate and predict, interpret and understand, and much more, lending new perspectives to your insight and decision-making.

Apps provide focused user experiences for getting work done and bringing GIS to life for everyone. GIS apps work virtually everywhere: on your mobile phones, tablets, in web browsers, and on desktops

1.3. GIS for Transportation Engineering

The main objective of using GIS is its ability to access and analyze spatially distributed data with respect to its actual spatial location overlaid on a base map of the area of coverage that allows analysis not possible with the other database management systems. The main benefit of using the GIS is not merely the user-friendly visual access and display, but also the spatial analysis capability and the applicability to apply standard GIS functionalities such as thematic mapping, charting, network-level analysis, simultaneous access to several layers of data as well as the ability to interface with external programs and software for decision support, data management, and user-specific functions. In addition, the ability of most GIS software to provide many basic transport models and algorithms can also be useful in certain situations (Vonderohe, 1993).

The geographic information system (GIS) can be used as a tool for road infrastructure management, similar to its existing applications in land-based infrastructure. GIS procedures provide a coordinated methodology to gather a wide range of information sources under a single, visually guided circumstance. The GIS tool be applied to assist technical and administrative experts in managing both costly and heavily used resources and providing information for decision makers. The applications for the GIS used by Transportation Engineers and branches are listed follows:

  • Executive Information system
  • Pavement management system
  • Bridge management
  • Maintenance management
  • Safety management
  • Transportation System Management (TSM)
  • Accident analysis
  • Environmental impact
  • Land side economic impact and value-capture analysis etc…

GIS for Transport (GIS-T) is the transport information system (TIS) and GIS association. The biggest advantage of GIS-T to various transportation organizations is its data integration potential. Data referring to the transportation network and many other independent databases such as bridge inventories in the past; signage location, accident record and other safety methods; traffic volume and other operational data. Furthermore, can also be integrated, such as administrative, land use, demographic, environmental, resource, land and underground data. The main functions of GIS useful for solving transportation problems are links to editing, imaging, measurement, coating, dynamic segmentation, surface modeling, raster imaging and analysis, routing and other software (Shaw, Rodrigue, 2017). The four major components of a GIS, encoding, management, analysis and reporting, have specific considerations for transportation.

Figure 2. Four major components of GIS for Transportation Engineering.

Encoding: Deals with issues concerning the representation of a transport system and its spatial components. To be of use in a GIS, a transport network must be correctly encoded, implying a functional topology composed of nodes and links. Other elements relevant to transportation, namely qualitative and quantitative data, must also be encoded and associated with their respective spatial elements. For instance, an encoded road segment can have data related to its width, number of lanes, direction, peak hour traffic, etc

Management: The encoded information is often stored in a database and will be organized along spatial (by region, country, census units, etc.), thematic (for highway, transit, railway, terminals, etc.) or temporal (by year, month, week, etc.) considerations. It is important to design a GIS database that organizes a large amount of heterogeneous data that can be easily accessed to support various transportation application needs.

Analysis: Considers the wide array of methodologies and tools available for transport issues. They can range from a simple query over an element of a transport system (e.g., what is the peak hour traffic of a road segment?) to a complex model investigating the relationships between its elements (e.g., if a new road segment was added, what would be the impacts on traffic and future land use developments).

Reporting: A GIS would not be complete without its visualization and data reporting capabilities for both spatial and non-spatial data. This component is particularly important as it offers interactive tools to convey complex information in a visual format (displayed or printed). A GIS-T thus becomes a useful tool to inform people who otherwise may not be able to visualize the hidden patterns and relationships embedded in the datasets (e.g. potential relationships among traffic accidents, highway geometry, pavement condition, and terrain) (Pankaj, Neelam, & Sikdar 2009).

Some of the highly recommended applications used for GIS-T are ArcGIS-Pro (98%), ArcGIS Desktop (97%), GGIS 3(96%), Hexagon Geomedia (80%) and others consequently solution and analysis for all data based on Geographic Information System. Until now, consuming georeferenced products from drones and satellites has never really been a forte for Esri. However, ArcGIS Pro is starting to get a better handle on this challenging task. If you’re using drones at your organization, ArcGIS Pro is compatible with Drone2Map. This is a good thing when you have 3D data collected from a drone. When you’re sifting through satellite data, ArcGIS Pro recognizes XML files. But I couldn’t drag and drop it in the application. That would’ve been a bonus if you could like you can do with the SNAP toolbox (Esri, 2020).










Figure 3. Hypnotize Readers with Stunning Imagery ( application image).

Advantages of GIS in Transportation Engineering according to (Pramoda, 2017).

  • Locating the sites accurately in the least permissible time
  • Reduces the critical time element involved in the activities
  • Accessibility of information between source and destination
  • Real time visualization of the area of interest
  • Finding optimum routes between different resources locating to the accident site
  • Improved operational efficiency as spatial and non-spatial data on individual-database

2.1. Results and Discussion

The results of analyzed publications, thesis, books, conference papers and literature review the chart is obtained and discussed about the search results. The use of GIS for Transportation Engineering become more necessary. Since GIS applications has the advantages of calculating traffic accidents, data availability, real visualization, reducing critical time on projects, real time temperature degrees, intelligent route directions, location information’s and more. The chart below shows the number of researched articles, books and thesis, conference papers published by international studies.

Table 1. Study area (Scopus database).

2.1. Conclusions

The paper introduced the use of GIS applications in Transportation Engineering and the branches of GIS its advantages. Utilizing the literature review, this thesis contains the full explanation of GIS and working process, advantages, GIS-T, main targets of applications for Transportation Engineering, and a number of researched articles and its results. To conclude, it has been realized that sometimes, the shortest distance could not provide the best solutions, due to extended time consumptions that are caused by traffic conditions during the way. After identifying the key factors for determining the best possible way to collect all data’s and integrate it for GIS-T for simpler solutions, real-time control systems, accurate path directions, socio-economical budget, auto-georeferencing, and way more tools using by Transportation Engineering way to improve the environmental conditions for better life quality. Future works for Geographic Information System by improving artificial intelligence applications like ArcGIS-Pro makes the way of analysis and solution problems a better and accurate possible way.


Athanasios K. Ziliaskopoulos, S. Travis Waller. (2012). An Internet Based Geographic Information System that Integrates Data, Models and Users for Transportation Applications, 8, (1-6), 427-444.

Civil Engineering Bible. (2009). What is Transportation Engineering. Retrieved from

Dr. Pankaj Gupta, Dr. Neelam Jain, Prof. P. K. Sirdar, Dr. Kishor Kumar. (2009). Geographical Information System in Transportation Planning, 1-15.

Dr. Shih-Lung Shaw., Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue. (2017). Geographic Information Systems for Transportation (GIS-T) refer to the principles and applications of geographic information technologies to transportation problems, 1-123.

Esri. (2020). What is GIS. Retrieved from

Keechoo Choi., Tschangho, & John Kim. (2016). Integrating Transportation Planning Models with GIS: Issues and Prospects, v13.3.

Library Carleton. (2003). Introduction to Georeferenced Images using ArcGIS. Retrieved from

National Geographic Geography. (2012). Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Physical Geography. Retrieved from

Pramoda Raj. (2017). Applications of Geographic Information System, 1-36.

Vonderohe, A. P. Travis, L., Smith, R. L. and Tasai, V. (1993). NCHRP Report 359, Adoption of Geographic Information System for Transportation, Transport Research Board, National Research Council, Washington, DC. 359, 1-77.

Leave a Reply