Tutorial I: Organizing Principles – An Introduction to GIS

This training introduces several useful pieces of analytical GIS functionality with health applications including cartographic principles, table joins, and feature symbolization. Each module includes a lecture, a hands-on exercise using ArcGIS, and the data needed to complete the exercise. You must have access to ArcGIS Pro in order to complete this training series.

This training is part of a larger curriculum created as part of the GIS Surveillance for Heart Disease, Stroke, and Other Chronic Diseases in State and Local Health Departments project.

Learn more about the other GIS Training programs.

Module 1.1: Communicating with Maps

Goals: The goal of this module is to explore the map as a communication tool, introduce a map design process, and develop an approach to critically reading maps.

Module 1.2: Working with Spatial Data

Goals: Our goal for this exercise is to explore an existing ArcGIS Pro project of Utah hospitals and add in county boundaries to the map.

Skills: After completing this exercise, you should be comfortable navigating around an ArcGIS Pro project, viewing and exploring geographic data in a map, and adding new data to a map.

Module 1.3: Displaying Spatial Data

Goals: The goal of this exercise is to create a map with both qualitative and quantitative data of the poverty rate in the state of Rhode Island.

Skills: After completing this exercise, you will be able to make a flat map with ArcGIS Pro given project data. You will be familiar with adding data to ArcGIS Pro, symbolizing attributes, and creating a PDF map.

Module 1.4 Considering Spatial Data

Goals: The goals for this exercise are to join a state of Louisiana US Census Tract shapefile to a dbf table containing tract level population data from the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) 5 Year Estimates, and export the combined table to a new dataset. You will also gain experience sub-setting data using attribute queries and exporting data projected to the appropriate coordinate system.

Skills: After completing this exercise you will:

  1. Have some familiarity with common data formats used in GIS;
  2. Be able to execute a basic table join in ArcGIS Pro; Export data; and even
  3. select features by attributes, create selection queries, change your selections, and access descriptive statistics for data in ArcGIS Pro.

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Module 1.5 Sharing Spatial Data

Goals: Our goal for this exercise is to publish a web map of hospitals and stroke hospitalization rates in Connecticut and share it as a basic map viewer.

Skills: After completing this exercise, you should be comfortable using, creating, and sharing a web map as well as a web app.

About the Authors

This GIS training curriculum was developed by the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.

Children's Environmental Health Initiative (CEHI)

The Children’s Environmental Health Initiative (CEHI) is a research, education, and outreach program committed to fostering environments where all people can prosper. CEHI has developed, maintains, and extends an extensive fully spatially referenced data architecture on children’s environmental health. This makes it possible to jointly consider diverse variables collected by different disciplines, creating the opportunity to explore the complex and dynamic relationships among the components of health.