Use of Computer in Data Processing and Mapping

In the present times, we can find computers and their modified versions everywhere. They can be found at work, at school and at home. They are the primary means of communication for billions of people. With the help of a computer, you can make friends, shop, file taxes, process data and prepare maps.

A collection of devices that works together as a system is known as a computer. It is an electronic device that operates according to the control instructions stored in its memory. A computer is an electronic machine that accepts information, stores it until the information is needed, processes the information according to the instructions provided by the user, and finally returns the results to the user. Data is a collection of raw unprocessed facts, figures, and symbols. Information is data that is organized, meaningful and useful. To process data into information, a computer uses hardware and software. Software is any set of instructions that tells the hardware what to do. System Software is a term referring to any computer software, which manages and controls the hardware so that application software can perform a task. The most important software involving calculations is the Spreadsheet. The most popular spreadsheet is the MS Excel. Other examples of system software are operating systems, compiler, loader, linker, interpreter, etc.

Maps may be drawn using computer hardware and mapping software. Data used for mapping must be generally accepted and properly defined. There are a number of commercially available mapping softwares like ArcGIS, ArcView, Geomedia, GRAM, Idrisi, Geometica, etc. A digitized map consists of three files. Extensions of these files are shp, shx and dbf. Attribute data is contained in the dbf file which is a dbase file. Spatial (map) information is contained in the shx and shp files. We can construct a choropleth map using any mapping software.

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