An important use of GIS applications is in traditional knowledge acquisition. The term traditional knowledge, in this context, means the experiences of given cultures and traditions in a society. Traditional knowledge applications in GIS are more important because they over reach cognitive maps, inasmuch as spiritual and environmental bonding can also be determined through these applications.
They offer a variety of tools for cultural conservation, solving disputes over land, water, forests and help in managing natural resources, as well as contribute to the development of the economy of regions.
The main purpose of traditional knowledge in GIS is preserving cultures. As there are marked decreases in communities who are continuing with lifestyles of the past, there is a need to collect information about traditions and cultures, and understand the erudite wisdom of the ancient people and their traditions.
One of the important aspects of preserving culture is in promoting and revitalizing language traditions. Maps having multiple language text and audio storage capacities bring us closer to the oral traditions of the past. They can also impart knowledge about the historicity of these traditions, in detail.
Traditional knowledge GIS applications can help in debates over the claims and rights of various people over land, water and other resources, for the purpose of resolving disputes. This is more so in ecologically important areas, where populations dwelling in forests claim their rights to live while industrialists stake claims to develop the region.
Local interests can be in dispute with migrant populations, and even conservation and development organizations of states, as well as mining and other global industries trying to occupy land. GIS applications can help in identifying spatial documents and interpreting them in order to resolve disputes. Similarly, in economic development area as well, GIS determines the ownership of locals, to speed up economic development.