GIS Workshop: Visualizing and Analyzing Health Data

Most recent GIS Workshop in NYC: July 22-23, 2019


The GIS Workshop is a two-day intensive workshop that will introduce participants to the fundamental concepts and hands-on techniques of health data visualization and analysis using publicly available open source GIS programs.



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2019 Dates: July 22-23; 9:00am - 4:30pm

This two-day intensive course aims to introduce participants to the fundamentals of data visualization using the open-source QGIS program and building towards the introduction of foundational spatially-centered approaches to identifying relationships and associations among population and environmental variables.  Led by Dr. Jeremy R. Porter, one of the highest-rated teachers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the author of many celebrated geospatial analysis publications and books, this workshop will integrate lectures with hands-on application.  The workshop emphasizes the use of open-source software packages and publicly available environmental and demographic data as an example of potential applications of these data with spatially centered visualization and analytic techniques.  The workshop is comprised of 4 components 1) visualization, 2) geo-processing, 3) cluster analysis, and 4) relationship identification.  Within each component, a lecture is followed by an opportunity to put the methods learned into practice.

By the end of the workshop, participants will be familiar with the following topics:

  • Principles of data visualization and analysis
  • Sources and techniques for the acquisition and management of spatial data
  • Methods and techniques for the visualization of spatial data
  • Techniques for the identification of statistical spatial (and spatio-temporal) clusters
  • Techniques for the incorporation of spatial information in more traditional regression methods of association and relationship identification among variables.

Investigators at all career stages are welcome to attend, and we particularly encourage trainees, students, and early-stage investigators to participate.


There are two prerequisites to attend this workshop:

1. Each participant must have an introductory background in statistics.

2. Each participant must bring a laptop with the software below loaded prior to the first day of the workshop.  All of the packages below are available for free download and installation on Mac, PC, and Linux devices.   

  • QGIS
  • saTScan
  • GeoDa
  • R
  • R-Studio


The GIS Workshop will take place on the Columbia University Irving Medical Campus (CUIMC) in New York City at the following address: Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, 722 W. 168th Street, Allan Rosenfield Building, 11th Floor Room 1101. Please note that the building entrance is on the 10th floor (training is located one floor above the entrance).

General transportation and lodging information can be found in the Getting Around sectionA map of the GIS Workshop location can be found here.


Jeremy Porter, PhD, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Director of the Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences program at the CUNY Graduate Center

Lead Editor, Journal of Maps

Founding Co-editor, Spatial Demography

Statistical Consultant, First Street Foundation and Urban Institute


The GIS Workshop was such a great experience. Instructors were very helpful and friendly, and everything was explained in a clear manner. It wasn't too rushed and the hands-on lab section was really helpful. The small size of the class was key as well. - Staff Member at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 2018

This was an excellent introduction to GIS, R, and GeoDa. The workshop was well organized and the instructor is dynamic, charismatic, and presents the material in ways that are easy to understand. - Faculty member at California State University, Northridge, 2018

The use of time was optimal and the topics covered were more comprehensive than I had imagined possible in two days. I feel confident walking out of this program that I will be able to troubleshoot and build on the foundations learned here. - Andrea H., Non-profit NYC research organization, 2018


 Early-Bird Rate (through 5/15/19)Regular Rate (5/16/19 - 7/5/19)Columbia Discount*
Student/Postdoc/Trainee$975$1,17510% off
Faculty/Academic Staff/Non-Profit Organizations$1,175    $1,37510% off
Corporate/For-Profit Organizations$1,375$1,575NA


*Columbia Discount: This discount is valid for any active student, postdoc, staff, or faculty at Columbia University. To access the Columbia discount, email for instructions.

Registration Fee: Fee includes course material, breakfast and refreshment breaks. Course material will be available to all students after the workshop. Lunch, lodging, and transportation are not included. 

Cancellations: Cancellation notices must be received via email at least 30 days prior to the workshop start date in order to receive a full refund, minus a $50 administrative fee. Cancellation notices received via email 14-29 days prior to the workshop will receive a 50% refund, minus a $50 administrative fee. Please email your cancellation notice to Due to workshop capacity, we regret that we are unable to refund registration fees for cancellations after these dates. 

If you are unable to attend the training, we encourage you to send a substitute within the same registration category. Please inform us of the substitute via email at least one week prior to the training to include them on attendee communications, updated registration forms, and materials. Should the substitute fall within a different registration category your credit card will be credited/charged respectively. Please email substitute inquiries to




Want updates on new GIS Workshop details or registration deadlines? Subscribe here.

Questions? Email the GIS Workshop team here.

The GIS Workshop is hosted by Columbia University's Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the Mailman School of Public Health.