Geographic Information Systems: Tools for Community Mapping

Phil Rabinowitz's chapter in gives a detailed overview of GIS mapping. Much of what he discusses is specifically relevant to Interactive Mapping. In this guide, the reader is walked through the mapping process starting with the fundamentals of what level of hardware and software is needed, right through the research process of gathering the best data for use in interactive, GIS mapping and what sorts of questions should be addressed when designing a map.


"GIS is often extremely useful in health and community services. It can track the spread or incidence of diseases, or of medical or social conditions.  It can show you where people with particular characteristics – age, ethnicity, income level, education level, etc. – cluster, where certain things happen or are likely to happen, the pace and direction of development, the spread of pollution, buying patterns, traffic patterns, the location of current and former buried utility and water lines -- in short, just about anything you’d need for assessment, planning, or evaluation purposes, as long as it had a geographic component and was accurately recorded." (Rabinowitz 2013)


  • What is GIS?
    • Everyday spatial mapping
    • GIS mapping
    • Components of GIS mapping
  • Why would you use GIS?
    • Some of the advantages of using GIS
  • When would you use GIS?
  • Who should use GIS?
  • How do you use GIS?
    • Frame the question 
    • Gather the data
    • Integrate the data into the GIS system
    • Make your maps
    • Analyze the results
    • Use your map analysis to assist and improve your work and your community
  • In summary


Rabinowitz, Phil (2013). Section 16. Geographic Information Systems: Tools for Community Mapping. Community Tool Box, Work Group for Community Health Development, University of Kansas. Retrieved from:

'Geographic Information Systems: Tools for Community Mapping' is referenced in: