Geospatial in general is a word which relates or denotes data that is associated with a particular location. It denotes that the data has a geographic component attached/related to it.
The word geospatial has started to gain currency in the past two decades or two. It is used to describe data and associated technology that has a geographic or locational component. The geographic content includes information in forms such as coordinates, address, GPS data, aerial photographs and satellite images.
A geospatial data can be classified into two different types: vector and raster. Vector data is further split into three: polygon, line and point data. Polygon data are two dimensional which can be used to measure areas of cities, plots etc. Line data represents features such as roads, rivers and streets. Point data is used to represent discrete points on a map. On the other hand, Raster data is used to describe/represent Surface features. It can also include aerial and satellite imagery. It can be used to represent continuous data such as temperature or elevation.
Although the word geospatial is used interchangeably with GIS (geographical information system), they are slightly different. GIS is a computer based system used for capturing, storing and displaying data related to Earth surface positions. A GIS shows different types of data on a map which helps people establish relationship between different phenomena and how they relate to each other. Geospatial data on the other hand has explicit geographical position information included within it. Geospatial information may be used to describe basic topographical information on a map. Geospatial information is often analyzed and manipulated using a/the GIS.
Any data that has a geographic content to it, when collected, processed and rendered to give information comes under the scope of geospatial analysis. Geospatial analysis uses tools such as GIS, GPS (global positioning system), remote sensing and geo-referencing among others. Geospatial analysis is used in the fields of disaster management, population management, pollution investigation, environmental impact assessments.
Apart from the analysis part, there are various geospatial services. Some of them are Photogrammetry, LiDAR Mapping, Terrain modelling, Digital elevation model etc.