Webinar Series: Data Visualization and ArcGIS

Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Event type: 
10:00am - 12:00noon PST

This webinar takes place over four sessions:
Session 1 - Tuesday January 23rd | Session 2 - Thursday January 25th
Session 3 - Tuesday January 30th | Session 4 - Thursday February 1st


This four-part webinar course examines the basics of handling, manipulating and visualizing data in a spatial context using geographic information systems (GIS). The course will provide a broad overview of common spatial problems related to health and provide you with the tools to identify these issues and how to handle them in a GIS environment. Focus will be on designing effective visualizations, integrating non-spatial data into a GIS and manipulating spatial data in Esri’s ArcGIS software package. During the course you will be provided with data sets and applied exercises to practice and follow along. Students will learn how to use GIS to explore spatial questions, become familiar with ArcGIS’s program interface, and create effective map visualizations from health data.

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Webinar objectives

By the end of this webinar series, participants will be able to:

  • Identify potential spatial data quality issues for their data
  • Prepare data for spatial applications
  • Learn common spatial methodologies
  • Learn the ArcGIS interface and other spatial tools
  • Create vibrant maps to represent healthcare data using ArcGIS

Session 1 – Maps, health data, visualization and cartography

  • With great power comes great responsibility
  • Common spatial problems in health
  • Common map requests in health
  • Data visualization primer
  • Determining the message
  • Critical assessment of map information – it should be easy!
  • Privacy concerns, Modifiable Areal Unit problem
  • ArcGIS map production interface/tools
  • Applications of GIS

Session 2 – Preparing your data for visualization

  • Finding data sources for spatial data
  • How to prepare your data for GIS from csv to spatial data
  • Formatting rules and reserved words
  • Coordinate systems and projections
  • Storing your data (shapefiles and geodatabases)
  • Raster vs vector formats
  • Joins and selections
  • Join non-spatial data to spatial data
  • How to perform basic SQL queries on attributes and map selection
  • Spatial joins
  • Editing spatial data
  • Field calculator
  • Editing nodes/vertices

Session 3 – Visualizing spatial relationships and multiple data layers

  • Using colour to tell your story
  • Using size to tell your story
  • Using symbols to tell your story
  • Point-based visualization
  • Line-based visualization
  • Polygon-based visualization
  • Creating labels for your data (Maplex, annotations and query expressions)
  • Layering of multiple types of information (i.e. Point on polygon)
  • Spider diagrams and flow maps
  • Catchment areas (buffering vs network analysis)
  • In-map charts (column, pie)
  • 3D mapping

Session 4 – Creating your first map: Insets, charts, and production layouts

  • Production layouts
  • Insets and small multiples
  • Titles
  • Charts, graphs, external data/analysis
  • Legends
  • Data sources
  • Geocoding
  • How to find GIS help and ask questions online
  • Open source resources for GIS and web mapping: R, QGIS, Python, Leaflet, etc.

Prior required knowledge

No prior knowledge of data visualization or data visualization software is expected. Familiarity with administrative healthcare data and basic statistical and data analysis procedures is assumed. Prior experience with ArcGIS is helpful but not essential.

Webinar-based course format

The interactive webinar software will provide remote access for students to view the instructor's screen, listen to the lecture in real time, and ask questions. The instructor will provide lecture slides (PowerPoint) for pre-reading prior to the start of the webinar. A dataset and related resources will be provided for reference and practice purposes.

Students can download the free ArcGIS software package for use on their computers through this site: http://www.esri.com/arcgis/trial

Instructor biography

Lauren Yee is a Masters of Geography candidate at Wilfrid Laurier University. She has over 7 years experience in GIS from working in municipal government and her previous research in susceptible populations to air pollution, avian influenza and spatial modelling of wildlife distributions and disease. Her interdisciplinary background has provided her with the experience of working with many different types of datasets, methodologies and their related data quality issues and methods of visualization. She has taught workshops on GIS in academic settings and in the municipal environment.  Her research interests include: spatial epidemiology, Ecohealth approach, determinants of health, white nose syndrome and zoonoses. Most recently, Lauren has been working on citizen science projects such as GrassLander, that incorporate GIS and interactive web mapping to aid in the conservation of grassland birds in Ontario.  Lauren is a strong advocate for communicating complex scientific information through visualization to make science accessible to all audiences. When she isn’t doing research, or thinking about research questions, Lauren plays guitar, synth and makes beats or she works on her environmental start-up, PolyGone.

Workshop fees

Regular rate: $265
Student rate: $165


For more information or to register contact:
Education and Training Lead: Ann Greenwood - ann.greenwood@popdata.bc.ca

Page last revised: November 16, 2017