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GIS Training

Welcome to the GIS Training page. The first training titled An Introduction to GIS and Public Health is intended for users with little or no experience working with GIS. It should approximately take three to four hours to complete. The subsequent three trainings (Organizing Principles, Data Management, and Analysis) are each part of a larger curriculum and may take more time to complete. These trainings have extended information including slideshows, exercises, and data.

The training content on this page is the product of the State Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Surveillance project. These materials were developed collaboratively for selected state health departments under the guidance of CEHI, of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, with input from participating states and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information please visit

This capacity-building project was designed to help state health departments apply GIS techniques in four areas:

  • Document the burden of heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases.
  • Build and strengthen partnerships.
  • Inform and guide policy and program decisions.
  • Facilitate integration and collaboration among state health departments, especially chronic disease.

Highlights of the capacity building project, including maps that demonstrate how each state health department used their new GIS skills to advance their institutional mission, are available here and here.

Getting Started with GIS

An Introduction to GIS and Public Health—Map Making Session: Fundamentals
This training is designed for public health professionals with little or no experience using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Participants will receive instruction on the use of GIS software and an introduction to commonly used and readily available data sources. At the end of the training participants will have created several statewide and county level thematic map(s) illustrating the use relevant data for public health applications.

GIS Training Curriculum

Organizing Principles: An Introduction to GIS
This training provides an introduction to some of the basic themes and concepts of GIS and hands-on use of ArcGIS Desktop software.

Data Management: Creation, Edition and Maintenance of Spatial Data
This training offers guidance and practice for the customization/creation of data to suit specialized GIS needs.

Analysis: Applied Analysis Techniques for GIS in Chronic Disease
This training introduces several useful pieces of analytical GIS functionality with health applications including: network analysis, spatial analysis and hotspot analysis.

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