OpenGlobe - GIS for Public Health
GIS Resources and Training Materials for Public Health Audiences

Intro to GIS

The Nature of Geographic Information (Penn State)

If you're serious about learning more about Geographic Information Systems but want to get a great overview of GIS, data, GPS and not just a course on how to use the software, an excellent place to start is with Penn State's GEOG 482: Nature of Geographic Information.  Penn State provides one of the best and most accessible curriculums available for GIS practitioners, and even if you don't want to pay to take the formal course, you can access the course test directly through the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute.    

Each chapter provides an incredible amount of detail with links to other resources, so you can either start with Chapter 1 and work your way through, or browse the text until you find content most suitable for your needs:

  1. Data and Information
  2. Scales and Transformations
  3. Census Data and Thematic Maps
  4. TIGER, Topology and Geocoding
  5. Land Surveying and GPS
  6. National Spatial Data Infrastructure I
  7. National Spatial Data Infrastructure II
  8. Remotely Sensed Image Data
  9. Integrating Geographic Data

 

Introduction to GIS and Public Health (CDC)

In the Centers for Disease Control's Map Making Session: Fundamentals course, you'll walk through four lessons covering how to create maps, add data, illustrate owner occupancy by Census Tract and create a basic road network.  These materials include instructions for using ArcGIS, the data, and an example of what the final map product should look like.

Lesson 1 covers working with Census Data; Lesson 2 tackles geocoding; and Lesson 3 covers buffers. Themes covered in the final lesson will include a number of geoprocessing techniques, exporting shapefiles, working with fields within tables and geocoding.

Organizing Principles for GIS (CDC)

In this course provided by the Centers for Disease Control and developed by the Children's Environmental Health Initiative, users are introduced to key considerations when it comes to how best to organize, display, and work with spatial data.  Good data management skills are stressed, and each module includes a lesson, exercise and dataset.

Introduction to GIS Tutorial (Yale)

Another fine introductory tutorial compiled by Yale's Stacey Maples, this tutorial walks the user through the basics of how to utilize the tools and user interface for ArcMap.  Like other tutorials in this series, these are best used as supplementary materials or refreshers on common ways to access the various functions found in the software.  

This tutorial covers:

  • Intro to the User Interface
  • Docking Tabbed Windows
  • Turning on or off Extensions
  • Accessing ArcCatalog
  • Open a Map Document
  • Quick Introduction to Map Projections
  • Exploring Toolbars and Various Tools
  • Setting Bookmarks
  • Selecting Attributes
  • Joining Tables
  • Working with the Layout View
  • Adding Common Map Elements