Introduction to GIS in Public Health (Online Digital Course)

Thursday, June 1, 2017 - Friday, June 30, 2017

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Course Description


This course will introduce the fundamentals of geographic information systems (GIS) using the leading commercial desktop GIS software (ArcGIS), with particular emphasis on applications in public health and epidemiology. The material will cover basic representation of spatial features in GIS (point, line, polygon, raster), data management, projections and coordinate systems, data import/export, attribute and spatial selections, major types of spatial analyses, relational joins, address geocoding, cartography, and map production. Special attention will be paid to generation of material for use in public health/epidemiology analyses and publication.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Load, view, and symbolize map data in ArcMap
  • Perform a series of spatial analyses using ArcGIS
  • Create cartographic products with ArcMap
  • Generate data to support public health/epidemiology studies




Students need to have strong computing skills in order to follow the fast pace of this course. Knowledge of MS Excel and the Windows Explorer (file manager) are essential. Working knowledge of MS Access or other SQL-compliant database will be a plus. Working knowledge of a statistical package will be helpful but not essential. Programming skills are not required.

Technical requirements

Hardware: Students will need to have access to a Windows-based machine, either a PC running Windows natively or a Linux PC or Mac running Windows in a virtualization or dual-boot environment.

Software: Students need to either have ArcGIS installed, or they will need to obtain a 1 year timeout student license (which they can obtain from Dr. Hurvitz, the instructor) or a 60-day timeout trial license (see <>).


Course Reading List


Philip Hurvitz, PhD

Philip Hurvitz is a research associate professor at the University of Washington in the Department of Urban Design and Planning. He has over 20 years of combined GIS teaching and research experience. He has taught GIS at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and has run over a dozen hands-on GIS workshops focusing on fast-tracking practical GIS skills. His work currently focuses on the relationship between the composition and configuration of the built environment on health-related behaviors. This course will focus on technical issues at the nexus of public health/epidemiology and urban planning.

Course Fee

Registration is $900.00

DISCOUNT of 10% will be applied at checkout for all registrations on or before April 1st.


The registration period has closed for this event.

Online Course Format

This is a month-long digital course, equivalent to approximately 20 hours of classroom instruction. Lectures and course material will be presented online in weekly segments. The flexible format will include video or audio recordings of lecture material, file sharing and topical discussion fora, self-assessment exercises, real-time electronic office hours and access to instructors for feedback during the course. Registrants for EPIC digital courses should have high-speed internet access. Any additional information about technical requirements and access to the course will be provided the month before the course begins.

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