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Geographic Information Systems at Yale   Tags: geodatabases, geographic information systems, gis, latitude, longitude, maps  

Geographic Information Systems at Yale University encompasses a range of spatial applications and services. GIS is used by many disciplines at Yale University.
Last Updated: Jan 29, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Getting Started with GIS Print Page

Sign up for the Yale GIS-L Mailing List!

Stay informed about GIS related events, announcements and issues.  We use this list to keep the Yale GIS User Community informed about everything from GIS Workshops to License Server maintenance events.

Yale Map Department GIS Software Installation Guides

This guide is intended to help standardize GIS Software installations on managed and faculty/staff/student computers across campus.  If you have questions, or would like to see an application added to the Yale Map Department Suggested GIS Software Configuration, please contact me.

GIS Instructional Materials

To request ESRI Virtual Campus Access Codes, email with a list of up to three (3) course titles from the following page.  Codes can ONLY be released to a valid Yale University ( email address.

ESRI's GIS Bibliography

This bibliography covers the literature of geographic information systems, science, and technology. It indexes journals, conference proceedings, books, and reports from the origins of GIS to the present. There are currently 116,670 entries in the Esri GIS Bibliography.

GIS at Yale University

GIS is used for many purposes that range from calculating space, analyzing spatial relationships, patterns or trends, to cartography, visualization, and site management.


There are a variety of service centers that provide different levels of GIS service at Yale University. The Yale University Library Map Department GIS Service aims to provide a comprehensive GIS service that covers geospatial data searching, acquisition, data manipulation, instruction, software access, distribution, and output.


Other University departments provide various levels of GIS services as well. The Statlab provides integrated GIS services with an emphasis on instruction and analysis. The Government Documents Library has a sizeable collection of Government deposited GIS data sets. See the Services page and the Contact page for more detailed information on services offered by Yale.


Yale Map Department Events/Workshops

Please note that not all of the items in this calendar are presented by The Map Department, and that some events take place in locations other than The Bass Library Electronic Classrooms. Please be sure to CLICK ON EACH ITEM and read the descriptions for each event carefully.

GIS and Related Courses at Yale

The following is a list of GIS courses that are offered by different schools at Yale. Check the Yale Course Catalog or applicable departments for availability and more information.

Archaeological Studies:

 ARCG 476 01 (20601) /ANTH776/ANTH476/ARCG776  /  GIS and Spatial Analysis for Archaeology

William Honeychurch

Introduction to the use of geographical information systems (GIS) in anthropology, with attention to archaeological applications. Examples from a range of theoretical, analytical, and geographical contexts; introduction to current software.



 BIS 511 01 (13314) / GIS Applications in Epidemiology and Public Health.

Theodore Holford

 The study of epidemiology often seeks to determine associations between exposure risk and disease that are spatially dependent. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are modern computer-based tools for the capture, storage, analysis, and display of spatial information. Public health applications of GIS provide cost-effective methods for evaluating interventions and modeling future trends, and they also provide a visual tool for data exploration. This class teaches the technical and design aspects of implementing a GIS project in public health, and provides students with basic tools for using GIS. Examples introduce a variety of applications in the field of epidemiology. Prerequisite: basic computer skills. Permission of instructor required.

Forestry and Environmental Studies:

EVST 290b / F&ES290b, Geographic Information Systems

Dana Tomlin

 The major objective of this course is to enable students to make practical use of the world’s most widely used geographic information system (ArcGIS) in order to prepare, interpret, and present cartographic data in a variety of settings associated  with environmental science and management.  In contrast to graduate-level courses FES755 and FES756, this course draws selected material from each, presents it at an undergraduate level, and orients it toward student-initiated projects. No previous experience is required.


 F&ES755b, Modeling Geographical Space.

Dana Tomlin.

An introduction to the conventions and capabilities of image-based (raster) geographic information systems (GIS) for the analysis and synthesis of spatial patterns and processes. In contrast to F&ES 756a, the course is oriented more toward the qualities of geographic space itself (e.g., proximity, density, or interspersion) than the discrete objects that may occupy such space (e.g., water bodies, land parcels, or structures). Three hours lecture, problem sets. No previous experience is required.


F&ES756a, Modeling Geographical Objects.

Dana Tomlin.

This course offers a broad and practical introduction to the nature and use of drawing-based (vector) geographic information systems (GIS) for the preparation, interpretation, and presentation of digital cartographic data. In contrast to F&ES 755b, the course is oriented more toward discrete objects in geographical space (e.g., water bodies, land parcels, or structures) than the qualities of that space itself (e.g., proximity, density, or interspersion). Three hours lecture, problem sets. No previous experience is required.


 F&ES 754a, Geospatial Software Design

Dana Tomlin

This course introduces computer programming tools and techniques for the development and customization of geospatial data-processing capabilities.  It relies heavily on use of the Python programming language in conjunction with ESRI’s ArcGIS, Google’s Earth Engine, and the open-source Quantum geographic information systems (GIS).  Experience equivalent to at least one course in GIS is recommended.


F&ES 781b/STAT 674b Applied Spatial Statistics

Timothy Gregoire & Jonathan Reuning-Scherer

An introduction to spatial statistical techniques with computer applications. Topics include spatial sampling, visualizing spatial data, quantifying spatial association and autocorrelation, interpolation methods, fitting variograms, kriging, and related modeling techniques for spatially correlated data. Examples are drawn from ecology, sociology, public health, and subjects proposed by students. Four to five lab/homework assignments and a final project. The class makes extensive use of the R programming language as well as ArcGIS


F&ES 717a,b Project in Geographic Information Systems.



HSHM 422 01 (21198) /HIST140J, Cartography, Territory, and Identity

William Rankin 

Exploration of how maps shape assumptions about territory, land, sovereignty, and identity. The relationship between scientific cartography and conquest, the geography of statecraft, religious cartographies, encounters between Western and non-Western cultures, and reactions to cartographic objectivity. Students make their own maps

HSHM 713 Geography and History

William Rankin

For almost twenty years, scholars have spoken of a “spatial turn” in history – or of “spatial history” as a new methodological sub-field – that promises to use new sources, new tools, and new theoretical commitments to ask new historical questions. Now with the recent spread of GIS software and historical GIS data, the spatialization of history has come to seem even more urgent. But how does one actually do spatial history? And what does it mean to think geographically? This seminar is an attempt to zoom out from the rhetoric of the “new,” the “turn,” or any particular research tool in order to investigate the broader intellectual intersection of history and geography. Our approach will be optimistic but circumspect; we will explore the history of geography as a discipline (especially its status as a “science”), take a critical stance towards maps, atlases, and GIS, and analyze real-world examples of successful (and not-so-successful) research.


Computer Science:


CPSC 178 Visualization: Data, Pixels, and Ideas.
Holly Rushmeier

An introduction to the use of computer graphics as a medium for communication and discovery. Topics include computer graphics primitives and their association with data, relationships, and concepts to generate an image; real-time interactions with images; and the application of visualization to a variety of application domains, from science and engineering to business and the arts. Includes a section on Geographic Information Systems. No previous experience with computers necessary.


Center for Earth Observation:


Observing the Earth from Space.

Ronald Smith

A practical introduction to satellite image analysis of the Earth’s surface. Topics include the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, satellite-borne radiometers, data transmission and storage, computer image analysis, the merging of satellite imagery with GIS and applications to weather and climate, oceanography, surficial geology, ecology and epidemiology, forestry, agriculture, archaeology, and watershed management.
Preference to undergraduates in Geology and Geophysics, Anthropology, and Environmental Studies. Prerequisites: college-level physics or chemistry, two courses in geology and natural science of the environment or equivalents, and computer literacy.


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