GIS Day 2019

Join us for GIS Day at the University of Chicago this November! This event is sponsored by the UChicago Library, Research Computing Center, Center for Spatial Data Science, University Consortium for GIS (via TRELIS), and the Tobler Society of Students. Our events include both GIS and PostGIS day activities. GIS Day is focused on Geographic Informations Systems and Science, and PostGIS activities celebrate open source GIS. 

Featured Events:

G I S  D A Y

Join us for the 2019 GIS Day Talk with special presentations by UChicago GIS communities, GISConnect Premiere, and more! Lunch will be provided.

Wednesday Nov 13 12:00 - 2:00 pm @ Regenstein Library, Room 122, East  57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Geospatial Technologies in Landscape Archaeology: The View from UChicago By Anthony Joseph Lauricella, Acting Director of the Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes

Archaeological data is inherently spatial. From an individual artifact’s provenance in a trench, to the distribution of sites in a regional landscape, archaeology produces—and seeks to answer—spatial questions at multiple scales. Geographical Information System (GIS) technology allows researchers to record, visualize, and analyze the spatial relationships found in the archaeological record. GIS has been an integral part of archaeological research for several decades and is now a ubiquitous tool in the field. This talk provides an introduction to the history of spatial technologies in the field of landscape archaeology, with a particular focus on research developed and carried out by archaeologists at the Oriental Institute here at the University of Chicago.

Cities, Lights, and Skills in Developing Economies: Application of Nighttime Light Satellite Imagery to Study Agglomeration in Developing Countries By Jonathan I. Dingel, Associate Professor of Economics at the Booth School of Business 

This talk characterizes the spatial distributions of skills in Brazil, China, and India. To facilitate comparisons with developed economy findings, metropolitan areas for each of these economies are constructed by aggregating finer geographic units on the basis of contiguous areas of light in nighttime satellite images. These lights-based metropolitan areas mirror commuting-based definitions in the United States and Brazil. In China and India, where commuting-based definitions are not available, lights-based metropolitan populations follow a power law, while administrative units do not. Examining variation in relative quantities and prices of skill across these metropolitan areas, this talk demonstrates that agglomeration is also skill-biased in Brazil, China, and India.


P O S T G I S  D A Y

Join us for the 2019 PostGIS Day Seminar, celebrating open source GIS. Brunch will be provided.

Nov 20th @10:30a - 11:30am @ Searle Chemical Laboratory, Room 240A,  5735 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

Mapping Slums on a Global Scale By Satej Soman (Research Engineer, Mansueto Institute, Computational Analysis & Public Policy), Cooper Nederhood (Research Engineer, Mansueto Institute, Computational Social Science) and Nico Marchio (Data Scientist, Mansueto Institute and RCC).

The Mansueto Institute recently released the Million Neighborhoods Map, which visualizes informal settlements on a global scale to help inform and prioritize infrastructure projects in underserviced neighborhoods. For PostGIS day, the research team will provide an in-depth walkthrough of the data, methods, and computational techniques utilized in the project. These include:

  • ETL methods for processing and preparing over 1TB of OpenStreetMap data for parallelized computation

  • Computational geometry techniques for creating topological indices, generating geometric cadastral maps of building footprints, and implementing spanning-tree algorithms

  • Demo of large scale tileset visualization tools

This seminar will be geared toward researchers interested in technical approaches towards processing and analyzing large scale GIS datasets.


M A P P I N G   F O R  S O C I A L   G O O D

Learn mapping and digitization skills, and put them to good use! Join the Tobler Society (RSO) for an evening of Mapping for Social Good.  

Humanitarian Mapathon, with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team

Nov 21st @5-7p  @ Searle Chemical Laboratory, Room 240A, 5735 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

It’s typhoon season in Japan, and we’ll be supporting the urgent mapping of buildings in Nagano, Japan. The city was recently affected by Typhoon Hagibis, which caused heavy rains, flash floods, and landslides. Members from the Tobler Society will show you how to get started with mapping for a good cause. Your OpenStreetMap edits will help people better understand the extent of typhoon damage. Japanese food will be provided by Shinju Sushi. 

We will also have multiple workshops (ArcGIS, QGIS, R, and more) in November to give the UChicago community several opportunities to hone their spatial skills. 


Please RSVP for events so we can order enough food. All workshops require registration. Workshop seats are limited and will be secured on a first-come, first-served basis. Enrolling in more than 1 workshop is possible assuming spots are available. Workshop registration will be confirmed via email.

RSVP for talks and workshops here:

All GIS Day Events & Recommended Activities



Searle Chemical Laboratory, Room 240A, 5735 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

9am - 10:30am Spatial Data Science Study Group 

12:00 - 1:00pm R Spatial Workshop, by Angela Li (CSDS) 

(note: no RSVP required)



12:00 -2:00pm Featured Talk: ”Geospatial Technologies in Landscape Archaeology: The View from UChicago Anthony Joseph Lauricella of the Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes Lab, with GIS Hub Presentations,  GISConnect Premiere, & More @122 Reg, Lunch Provided

2:00 - 4:00pm Intro to QGIS Workshop, by Cecilia Smith & Traci Andrews   (Library) @ GIS Hub in Crerar Library (Very Limited Seating, RSVP required)

2:00 - 4:00pm* Intro to ArcGIS Insights Workshop, by Parmananad Sinha (RCC) @ Kathleen A. Zar Room in Crerar Library (RSVP)

5:00 - 6:00pm Introduction to Data Analysis and Visualization in R Workshop (Tobler Society) @240A Searle, Dinner Provided



12-1:30pm Environmental Data Science Study Group @240A Searle



9am - 10:30am Spatial Data Science Study Group @240A Searle

12:00 - 1:00pm R Spatial Workshop, by Angela Li (CSDS) @ 240A Searle, (no RSVP required)



9:30-10:30am*  Intro to PostGIS Workshop, by Marynia Kolak (CSDS)  (RSVP)

10:30-11:30am “Mapping Slums on a Global Scale”, Seminar by Satej Soman, Cooper Nederhood and Nico Marchio of the Mansueto Institute @ 240A Searle, Brunch Provided

2:00 - 4:00pm* Intro to ArcGIS Online Workshop, by Cecilia Smith & Traci Andrews (Library) @ GIS Hub in Crerar Library (Very Limited Seating, RSVP required)

2:00 - 4:00pm Intro to Satellite Imageries for Social Sciences, by Parmanand Sinha (RCC) @ Kathleen A. Zar Room in Crerar Library (RSVP)

1:00 - 5:00pm Google Earth VR and Board Games at the MADD Center in Crerar Library



12-1:30pm Environmental Data Science Study Group @240A Searle

5:00-7:00pm  Mapping For Social Good (Tobler Society) @ 240A Searle, Dinner Provided