Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32451
Geographic Information Systems as a Tool to Support the Sustainable Development Goals

Authors: Gulnara N. Nabiyeva, Stephen M. Wheeler


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a multipurpose computer-based tool that provides a sophisticated ability to map and analyze data on different spatial layers. However, GIS is far more easily applied in some policy areas than others. This paper seeks to determine the areas of sustainable development, including environmental, economic, and social dimensions, where GIS has been used to date to support efforts to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to discuss potential areas where it might be used more. Based on an extensive analysis of published literature, we ranked the SDGs according to how frequently GIS has been used to study related policy. We found that SDG#15 “Life on Land” is most often addressed with GIS, following by SDG#11 “Sustainable Cities and Communities”, and SDG#13 “Climate Action”. On the other hand, we determined that SDG#2 “Zero Hunger”, SDG#8 “Decent Work and Economic Growth”, and SDG#16 “Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions” are least addressed with GIS. The paper outlines some specific ways that GIS might be applied to the SDGs least linked to this tool currently.

Keywords: GIS, GIS application, sustainable community development, sustainable development goals.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1361


[1] Wheeler, Stephen M. Planning for Sustainability. Creating Livable, Equitable and Ecological Communities. Routledge. Taylor & Francis Group. London and NY. 2013.
[2] Wheeler, Stephen M., and Beatley, Timothy. The Sustainable Urban Development Reader, 2nd edition, London and New York: Routledge, 2009.
[3] 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Knowledge Platform. Received from
[4] The United Nation Sustainable Development Goals. Received from
[5] Sustainable Development Goals. Decade of Action. Received from
[6] Duecker, K., Kjerne, D. Multipurpose Cadaster: Terms and Definitions. In: Proceedings of the ACSM-ASPRS, vol. 5, 1989, pp. 94–103.
[7] Aronoff, S. (1989). Geographical Information Systems: Management Perspective. WDL Publications, Ottawa.
[8] Cowen, D.J. GIS versus CAD versus DBMS: What Are the Differences? Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, Vol. 54, №.11, November 1988, pp. 1551–1555.
[9] Campagna, M. GIS for Sustainable Development. Boca Raton. Taylor & Francis Group. London and NY. 2006.
[10] Kumar, D., Singh R.B., Kaur, R. Spatial Information Technology for Sustainable Development Goals. Springer. 2019.
[11] Narain, A. What Is the Strategic Importance of Geospatial for SDGs (Geo4SDGs or GEO-for-SDGs)? Received from Geospatial World
[12] Cheney, C. GIS for SDGs: “See things that were impossible to see,” ESRI founder says. 2019. Received from
[13] Elsevier’s Scopus. Received from
[14] Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science. Received from
[15] Google Scholar. Received from
[16] The 10 Countries Most Active in Space. Received from
[17] Narain, A. The World’s Most Geospatial Ready Countries. 2018. Received from
[18] Narain, A. (2018). What Constitutes the Geospatial Technology Ecosystem? 2018. Received from
[19] Roy, M. Planning for sustainable urbanisation in fast growing cities: Mitigation and adaptation issues addressed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2009. Received from
[20] Wang, H., Shen, Q.P., Tang, B.S. GIS-Based Framework for Supporting Land Use Planning in Urban Renewal: Case Study in Hong Kong. 2015. Received from
[21] Cinderby, S. How to reach the ‘hard-to-reach’: the development of Participatory Geographic Information Systems (P-GIS) for inclusive urban design in UK cities. 2010. Received from
[22] Banai, R. Land resource sustainability for urban development: Spatial decision support system prototype. 2005. Received from
[23] Niblick, B., Monnell, J.D., Zhao, X., Landis, A.E. Using geographic information systems to assess potential biofuel crop production on urban marginal lands. 2013. Received from
[24] Kayastha, P., Dhital, M.R., Smedt, F.De. Landslide susceptibility mapping using the weight of evidence method in the Tinau watershed, Nepal. 2012. Received from
[25] Ansal, A., Akinci, A., Cultrera, G., Erdik, M., Pessina, V., Tonuk, G., Ameri, G. Loss estimation in Istanbul based on deterministic earthquake scenarios of the Marmara Sea region (Turkey). 2009. Received from
[26] Van den Bosch, M.A., Mudu, P., Uscila, V., Barrdahl, M., Kulinkina, A., Staatsen, B., Swart, W., Kruize, H., Zurlyte, I., Egorov, AI. Development of an urban green space indicator and the public health rationale. 2016. Received from
[27] Boateng, I. An application of GIS and coastal geomorphology for large scale assessment of coastal erosion and management: a case study of Ghana. 2012. Received from
[28] Sharma, T., Carmichael, J., Klinkenberg, B. Integrated modeling for exploring sustainable agriculture futures. 2006. Received from