What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Geographic Filing?

By Lynn Hartz

According to the Texas State Library, keeping a disorganized file management system is a recipe for disaster. It is difficult to obtain information when you require it urgently. Organizing and manipulating information within such a disorganized system for decision-making purposes also is quite impossible. An efficient filing system is mandatory for any organization that expects to reap benefits from the information in its possession. The geographic filing system is appropriate where the geographic location is the most important component of the information.


Geographic records related to a specific location are stored together. This facilitates quick decision-making because the information under review relates to one specific geographical area only. Geographic areas are classified as units or groups of units. Geographic filing allows easy movement of records by simply shifting them from one location to another.

Analysis Advantages

Geographic filing aids the process of analysis by allowing easy comparison of data items. For instance, an analysis of records filed according to building name and location may help identify maintenance records for a particular building.

Complexity Disadvantages

The process of storing and retrieving geographic data is time-consuming because of the need to reference using multiple identifiers. For instance, locating a particular building would require a reference to a particular state, the city, the street and finally the name of the building. Records maintained in some nations are written in their language. For instance, the City of Florence in Italy is "Firenze" in Italian records. Cross reference to the other language therefore becomes necessary to enable non-Italian users to understand the information.

Index Requirement Disadvantages

You need to be familiar with the geographical area sufficiently well to understand the records. To locate them quickly, you need to utilize an alphabetic index. The process of storing and retrieving a record requires two actions: Check the index for the location of the file, and search for it amidst the other information.