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GIS Resources for Public Health

This site contains information on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and data visualization tutorials and lessons, with a focus on public health. This site includes general course materials and resources accumulated over the past few years, including video tutorials posted for Master’s students covering key topics.

Open Course Materials are available to anyone, as are the YouTube Video tutorials. The password protected course materials are available to current and past students for reference following the course.

Applied GIS in public health research and practice is an area that has experienced significant growth over the last decade. Because of the spatial-rich nature of public health data and program planning, adoption of GIS and the growing application of the technology are easy to understand; yet, as the technology grows so does the vastness of its applications. These advances can been seen as both advantageous and disadvantageous. Growth of technological advances in research methods allows for richer, more robust and sophisticated analyses, but the ability to train and teach researchers and practitioners these research advances may continue to grow knowledge disparity of their uses and core concepts. Public health researchers and practitioners who have discovered the potential usefulness and benefit of GIS methods to their own research may have a difficult time getting started. Introductory information available can be fairly intimidating and not tailored to public health research and epidemiologic concepts. Much of the spatial analysis is still being done outside traditional GIS programs, but this is changing. This site will provide a framework for the steady adoption of such analysis and provide the framework for it’s inception within existing public health infrastructures.

Through practical application of the technology, GIS can enhance rather than replace existing analysis already being performed by public health officials. Starting with a basic introduction to GIS in public health and building off of case examples, materials found on this site will highlight how rapid transformation of public health data into geographically-aware information is changing the process of how public health interventions and assessments can be completed. We will also cover the foundations for building and maintaining a GIS-specialized unit within a public health agency, and how using freely available web-based tools (e.g. grassroots organizations) can harness this powerful technology.

If you're new to public health, start here:

What is Public Health?

Public Health in Action

Information about Careers in Public Health

Interested in applying to an accredited school?  Check out the Schools of Public Health Application Service.


    Above is the original map of cholera deaths made by John Snow in 1854.   Below is a re-stylized, interactive version of the same data, visualized on present-day London.