Geographic Information Systems (GIS) News and Updates

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GIS Trainings

We have an exciting array of GIS training opportunities for state and local health department staff that will be available from Sept. 2020 to July 2021.

  • All training opportunities will be offered virtually until further notice.
  • Training will include didactic sessions, hands-on exercises, access to GIS experts, and the completion of map projects.

For more information about the 2020-2021 GIS Capacity Building training opportunities, click here to be directed to the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative at University of Notre Dame webpage.

Trainings are focused on developing practical mapping, analysis, and GIS skills. Additional trainings will be announced on this page and via the GIS Network. To join the GIS Network, please email Jason Brown (

Overview of One-Week Webinars
Interested trainees must have a basic level of GIS skill (familiar with the software interface, know how to browse spatial data, etc.) and will be enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis until seats are filled. ArcGIS Pro software is required for participation, and in most cases, all required datasets will be provided. Participants can sign up for one or multiple modules in advance. Each module will take place over the course of one week (Tuesday to Tuesday) and will consist of four major components:

  1. Interactive Lecture (Tuesday): One 90-minute webinar. The webinar will include a lecture and hands-on activities. At the end of the webinar, participants will be given an assignment to complete during the week.
  2. Technical Question and Answer Session (Thursday): Following the webinar, participants will be invited to submit questions related to the content covered and the associated assignment. This information will be used for an interactive Q & A session scheduled for Thursday of the same week.
  3. Assignment Due (Friday): Assignments will be turned in at the end of the week.
  4. Group Discussion (Tuesday): Assignments will be discussed as a group during a final 90-minute webinar.

Please contact Joshua Tootoo if you would like to assess your current GIS skills or determine if a workshop is right for you.

2021 Webinars – registration coming soon

January 12, 14, and 19, 2021
2021 Spring Webinar 1: Introduction to ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Online*
Registration opens two weeks before course start date.
In this one-week intensive web-based GIS training course, we will discuss how to manage a map project and symbolize data in ArcGIS Pro. You will explore the ways ArcGIS Pro works with ArcGIS Online to assist map creation and sharing.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss the use of GIS in public health settings;
  • Introduce the ArcGIS (Pro & Online) interface and key terms/concepts; and
  • Become familiar with using web maps.

May 11, 13, and 18, 2021
2021 Spring Webinar 2: Understanding Geographic Access through Proximity-based Analyses **
Registration opens two weeks before course start date.
In this webinar, we will discuss concepts that address access to healthcare and resources. We will compare and contrast techniques for measuring spatial accessibility to healthcare and healthcare resources, apply methods that quantify geographic accessibility for populations of interest, and create maps that display geographic patterns of spatial accessibility to healthcare and healthcare resources.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss the concepts of access to healthcare;
  • Explore proximity-based tools in the GIS setting; and
  • Apply proximity information to inform understanding of resources in space: geographic accessibility.

June 8, 10, and 15, 2021
2021 Spring Webinar 3: Polishing your maps with cartographic best practices*
Registration opens two weeks before course start date.
In this webinar each participant will start with a map that they have created and wants to enhance cartographically. Each participant should have a specific message and audience in mind for the selected map. This webinar will focus on applying cartographic principles and achieving publication quality maps. Please note participants must have an existing map and access to the relevant data.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review the map design process;
  • Explore practical matters such as color, scale, and resolution; and
  • Discuss best practices related to: legends, labels, and symbols.

* Basic workshop, introductory level.
** Fast paced workshop designed for those with an intermediate level of GIS experience/skill. 

2020 Webinars (closed)

September 15, 17 and 22, 2020
2020 Fall Webinar 1: Introducing the Rate Stabilizing Tool (RST)**
In this webinar, we introduce the Rate Stabilizing Tool (RST) for computing and mapping age-adjusted smoothed rate estimates for small areas in ArcGIS. The objective of this webinar is to provide a general introduction to the tool through an interactive demonstration of its use.

Learning Objectives:

  • Introduce the installation process for the RST and illustrate how to manage the user interface;
  • Discuss the data inputs required for generating age-adjusted rate estimates for small areas; and
  • Explore and interpret output from the tool.

October 13, 15, and 20, 2020
2020 Fall Webinar 2: Disaggregating data for use with the Rate Stabilizing Tool (RST)**
In this webinar, we will introduce and apply several important data processing concepts with the goal of generating datasets that can be used with the Rate Stabilizing Tool (RST). Over the course of the training, participants will process location-specific count and rate data and transform these datasets for use in the RST.

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain experience managing tabular data from multiple sources and formats;
  • Learn the processes for simulating rate data based on count data; and
  • Simulate count data by age categories.

October-November 2020 (closed)

GIS, Chronic Disease, and COVID-19 

    • Participants will create maps that address both chronic disease and COVID-19.
    • GIS Level: Basic to Intermediate

We are no longer accepting applications for this course. Training materials will be made publicly available in the coming months. Stay tuned.

January-February 2021

Using the Rate Stabilizing Tool (RST) 

Key Application Dates:

  • Application available: November 9, 2020
  • Application Q&A: November 12, 2020
  • Application submission deadline: December 9, 2020
  • Notification: December 18, 2020
  • Training Dates: January 6, 2021 – February 5, 2021

February-July 2021

Using GIS to Address Chronic Disease Priorities in State Health Departments 

  • Participants will learn and apply basic GIS skills (also become familiar with the software interface, know how to browse spatial data, etc.) to priority areas defined by each health department.
  • GIS Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Health Departments will be selected based upon the burden of cardiovascular disease
  • State Health Department staff only

State Health Department GIS Training (Past)

State Health Departments from Connecticut, Louisiana, Rhode Island and Utah participated in the 2019-2020 GIS State Training for the Surveillance of Heart Disease, Stroke and other Chronic Conditions a series of virtual and in-person trainings at Rice University in Houston, Texas.


View the posters presented on the GIS Capacity Building project at the NACDD Virtual Public Health Showcase on January 8, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.


GIS Hallmarks: Building a Culture of GIS in Your Health Department

Working with the Chronic Disease Directors, the guidance team members from CDC, NACDD, and CEHI developed a set of GIS Hallmarks that describe the components needed to support the integration of GIS into daily operations within the health department. 

The GIS Hallmarks, endorsed by NACDD’s Cardiovascular Health Council, address a variety of GIS capacity issues that fall within the purview of Chronic Disease Directors and their colleagues in leadership positions, such as:

  1. developing a GIS-savvy workforce,
  2. using GIS to improve partnerships and relationships,
  3. using GIS to address health equity and social determinants of health, and
  4. providing financial and administrative resources to support the use of GIS with chronic disease prevention and health promotion programs.

View printable slides about the GIS Hallmarks that were presented at the NACDD Virtual Public Health Showcase in January 2020. View the complete GIS Hallmarks here.

Diabetes Prevention Program Site List Updated and Geocoded (Spring 2019)

The Division of Diabetes Translation has updated and geocoded their list of recognized Diabetes Prevention Programs. Access the list.

Publish Your GIS Work in Preventing Chronic Disease!

NACDD has developed a template with practical information to assist state and local health department GIS users in gathering and organizing information they need to prepare GIS Snapshots for this peer-reviewed journal. View published GIS Snapshots.

Webinars and Presentations

You Need a Map to Get There: Maps for Chronic Disease Programs and Policies

View slides and materials from the GIS workshop for chronic disease directors at the 2017 NACDD Chronic Disease Academy in St. Louis, Mo.

GIS Network Peer Exchange Webinar (June 2017)

This CDC/NACDD webinar featured a State Health Improvement Partnership (Cate Bosserman, MN), another that demonstrates the use of maps to enhance cancer screening (James Kelley, MS), and a third that highlights Diabetes Prevention Programs (Dorota Carpenedo, MT). View the recording.

Top Tips for Beautiful, Informative Maps Webinar (April 2017)

This CDC/NACDD webinar includes a presentation on how to create clear, easy-to-read and effective GIS maps.

Webinar recording
Webinar slides
Handout: Cartographic Guidelines for Public Health
Handout: Step by Step Guide

Data Visualization Webinar (January 2017)

NACDD and CDC hosted this 1305/1422 Epidemiology and Surveillance and GIS Network webinar on data visualization featuring presentations by Booker Daniels and Linda Scheib from CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention on effective data visualization strategies and the CDC GIS widget for the Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke.

Webinar recording
Booker Daniels
presentation slides
Linda Schieb
presentation slides
Infographics at CDC: A Standards Guide
Creative Brief template


Miranda ML, Casper M, Tootoo J, Schieb L. Putting Chronic Disease on the Map: Building GIS Capacity in State and Local Health Departments. Prev Chronic Dis 2013;10:120321. DOI:

Brissette I, Casper M, Huston SL, Jordan M, Karns B, Kippes C, et al. Application of Geographic Information Systems to Address Chronic Disease Priorities: Experiences in State and Local Health Departments. Prev Chronic Dis 2019;16:180674. DOI: pcd16.180674.

Quick H, Tootoo J, Li R, Vaughan AS, Schieb L, Casper M, et al. The Rate Stabilizing Tool: Generating Stable Local-Level Measures of Chronic Disease. Prev Chronic Dis 2019;16:180442. DOI: 10.5888/pcd16.180442.