GIS find a wide range of applications in urban and spatial development, mostly in the form of spatial information systems (SIS) (Bill, 2016: Section 9.3). A SIS is an instrument for decision-making and a tool for planning and development. On the one hand, it consists of data collections (often in the form of so-called statistical information systems) on population, economic and settlement development, infrastructure development, land use, etc. These data are generated at all levels of the administrative hierarchy (e.g. European Union, federal government, state, region, administrative district, district, municipality).
A broad field of application is official statistics. In Germany, this is managed by the Federal Statistical Office, the State Statistical Offices and local authorities responsible for statistics and elections. Their task is to collect basic data on social, economic and ecological relationships and developments and to make them available for evaluation. This is done, for example, through large-scale censuses (such as the 2011 census), special surveys or within the framework of administrative enforcement (ongoing spatial observation, Genesis, CORINE). The data are assigned to spatial territorial units such as building blocks and districts, which are coded by means of code numbers. At the federal level, for official statistics one should mention the GENESIS online database (GENESIS 2014) or, with regard to spatial development, the ongoing spatial monitoring (BBSR 2014), both Web GIS platforms that make geoinformation visible to everyone in the form of indicators and in some cases also available for further processing.
On the other hand, a SIS also includes the procedures and methods for recording, updating and processing geoinformation as a basis for planning information systems. These are required from the European to the municipal level, e.g. to carry out urban land-use planning, regional planning, national spatial planning as well as their accompanying sectoral planning (transport planning, nature conservation). Current developments with high relevance for urban and spatial planning are given by the INSPIRE project of the EU (Directive 2007/2/EC, 2007), namely the establishment of an interoperable infrastructure for spatial planning in all EU member states, so that in the near future it can be assumed that harmonised data can be used as services everywhere for planning by means of Web GIS technologies. At the same time, the GovData portal (GOVDATA, 2014) is available in Germany as a central entry point for freely available administrative data from the federal government to the municipalities.