What is Geoinformatics?

During my academic life, up to recently, my students sometime confuse with the following terms; Geoinformatics, Geomatics, Geoscience, GIS, etc. On this post I would like to make easier to understand the differences between them.

  1. Geoinformatics: according to Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Third Edition (10 Volumes), Geoinformatics is referred to the academic discipline or career of working with geo-data for better understanding and interpretation of human interaction with the earth’s surface. Geoinformatics might be defined in a relatively broad term as a number of different technologies, approaches, processes, and methods to interpreter issue and controversy relating to the earth’s surface for collaborative decision making. Geoinformation can combine different types of dataset, from GIS, remote sensing and non-remote sensing, and socio-economic to generated results inform of maps or other forms of reports which allow better interpretation, management and decision making about human activities upon earth’s surface. Geoinformatics refers to two words; ”Geo” which is refer to “Geospatial” and “informatics” which is refer to “Information Science” multidisciplinary science (e.g., computer science, software engineering, computer vision, mobile and game technology, intelligent system, internet of things)
  2. Geomatics: according to many sources I have read, geomatics related to acquire and manage spatial data from the engineering point-of-view. It is is consist of two words; 1. “Geo” which is refer to “Geodesy” and, 2. “Matics” which refer to “Mathematics”. It is engineering discipline that mostly used and applied for land-ocean-surveying-base
  3. Geoscience: it very broad terminology, covers from geography to geological discipline. It is focused on the Earth and its systems, history, and resources. Includes the way that it interacts with the atmosphere, oceans and biosphere, making it one of the most wide-ranging of all scientific disciplines. However, geoscience now not only “on” earth issues but also “on” planetary issues also cover this terminology.
  4. GIS (Geographical Information System): it is firstly introduced by Canadian researcher, Roger Tomlinson on 1968. It is used for visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends. Mostly employ in the field of geography, to explore and find the answer. Recently, many discipline employ GIS to answer their research question, since GIS is provide powerful tools in spatial analysis.

Visualization for easier understanding

Two most confusing terminology are; Geomatics and Geoinformatics. If I transformed two terminologies into figures , it might be like following:











Geioinformatics research involves using modern information methods and technologies, application programs, databases, the internet and software development constitute the foundation for the deployment of Geoinformatics. In time-line, GIS is the oldest brother, following by Geomatics, and the youngest is Geoinformatics, as shown in the figure below.


At my research center, we focus on Geoinformatics research field. We are developing new types of geovisualization through WebGIS technology and employ cutting-edge technology in order to capture geospatial data sets. Our challenge is how to improve the visualization consisting of big-data sets to provide new insight of geo-information to solve human and earth issues.



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