GIS software supports applications that help conserve natural resources and reduce pollution, including:
- Renewable Energy Siting – A popular application is determining the best location for renewable energy facilities such as solar and wind generation sites. GIS is helping many organizations perform these studies at multiple scales ranging from national to local settings.
- Energy Savings via Automated Routing – Organizations with vehicle fleets can realize almost immediate energy savings by using GIS-based logistics planning software for optimized routing. These applications provide huge benefits in reduced fuel consumption–typically 15% – 20%–and benefit both private and public organizations dealing with dispatching and routing inspectors, field workers, and home deliveries, as well as paratransit agencies and trucking companies.
- Carbon Accounting – GIS is being used to acquire measurements and monitor carbon balance geographically. This is happening at many scales, from global down to local geographies. The Clinton Foundation, working with the Australian government, has created a national system whereas American Forests has set up accounting systems to measure the change in carbon balance within metropolitan areas.
- Conservation Planning – GIS is being used to define wildlife areas and corridors and integrate this knowledge for better land use planning.
- Land Use and Transportation Planning – GIS is being used by planners to support the design of more sustainable cities, regions, and states.