Building GIS Capacity

Goals and Objectives

The objectives of this project are twofold:

  • To build capacity in health departments (HDs) to use GIS to improve heart disease and stroke prevention and treatment programs and policies.
  • To develop guidelines for developing GIS capacity in HDs across the country.

This project brings together CEHI and HDs in a collaborative partnership under the advice and guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.

Project Overview

HDs are competitively selected for participation in this project. Selection of HDs was based on several components including: knowledge of current GIS capacity, awareness of available data, vision, potential for collaboration, and project commitment. Special consideration was given to the potential for significant impact associated with the project.

The selected HDs receive a GIS needs assessment, extensive training in GIS and project development, equipment and software, and telephone-based and on-site consultation as a minimum of two GIS applications are designed, developed, and implemented. In turn, HDs commit personnel to the project, establish hardware, software and data infrastructure, define project scope, and develop and implement GIS applications.

The lessons learned from the design and implementation of GIS projects in the selected HDs will form the basis for the development of a set of guidelines for integrating GIS into program and policy decisions regarding the treatment and prevention of heart disease and stroke, providing guidance to other states interested in developing similar capacity.

The Highlights documents showcase the work of each participating HD as they use GIS and mapping techniques to advance their institutional missions.


Keep abreast of what’s going on…

Our MapLog highlights examples of real-world GIS projects from training participants.

Join the Chronic Disease GIS Network

The Chronic Disease GIS Network (CDGISN) is a community of colleagues from Health Departments and Tribal Epidemiology Centers who are interested in using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to address chronic disease priorities and reduce health disparities.

In this community you will find GIS training announcements and resources along with opportunities to discuss ideas with fellow GIS users. Participants at all levels of experience are welcome –whether you are new to GIS, or a skilled user.

To join the CDGISN, please fill out this form.

Funding Organizations


  • US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention
  • The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
  • Multiple State, Local and Tribal Public Health Organizations (link to map of past participants)