Digital Scholarship Resources - Vanderbilt Libraries Digital Scholarship and Communications Office

GIS Working Group

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Map from (created by @John_M_Nelson with

What’s GIS?

A geographic information system (GIS) is a framework for gathering, managing, and analyzing data. Rooted in the science of geography, GIS integrates many types of data. It analyzes spatial location and organizes layers of information into visualizations using maps and 3D scenes. ​With this unique capability, GIS reveals deeper insights into data, such as patterns, relationships, and situations—helping users make smarter decisions.

Many different types of information can be compared and contrasted using GIS. The system can include data about people, such as population, income, or education level. It can include information about the landscape, such as the location of streams, different kinds of vegetation, and different kinds of soil. It can include information about the sites of factories, farms, and schools; or storm drains, roads, and electric power lines.

With GIS technology, people can compare the locations of different things in order to discover how they relate to each other. For example, using GIS, a single map could include sites that produce pollution, such as factories, and sites that are sensitive to pollution, such as wetlands and rivers. Such a map would help people determine where water supplies are most at risk.

About the group

Anyone who is interested in GIS, Mapping, OpenSource GIS, R & Python for GIS, or any other related topic is welcome to attend. Please bring your laptop! The format is for the first hour a hands on exercise and brief instruction followed with a second hour of “working with your own data” session. Feel free to come to either session or both if you want.


Our group meets on most Wednesdays from 12:10 to 2:00 PM (again instruction is from 12:10-1:10 and the remainder is for help with your data) in the Training Room in the basement of the Eskind Biomedical Library (Room 010).

Schedule of Topics

Date Topic Notes
Jan. 23 Introduction, software installation, ArcOnline  
Jan. 30    
Feb. 06 GIS data sources  
Feb. 13 Opensource GIS QGIS  
Feb. 20 Georeferencing  
Feb. 27 Geoprocessing and Spatial Analysis  
Mar. 6 No meeting (spring break week)  
Mar. 20 No meeting  
Mar. 27 R in GIS  

Questions? Contact us

License: CC BY 4.0.
Credit: "Vanderbilt Libraries Digital Scholarship and Communications -"