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GIS for Social Work: Maps & GIS

Community Profile Map with Google Maps Engine

The following presentation shows the basics of making a community map using Google Maps Engine. Why use Google Maps Engine? Its free and relatively easy. It allows you to add your own pictures. More importantly, if you are a social worker, a map lets you communicate almost anything you want to your audience. For example, you could easily map all the community centers in a neighborhood and include descriptions, contact information, and pictures. 

There are 5 parts to the presentation. Each section contains audio and video clips:

  1. What does a map look like?
  2. Signing In
  3. Outlining your neigborhood
  4. Adding Markers
  5. Adding Pictures

The only thing you need to get started is a Google Account.
To access Google Maps Engine go here: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/

Instructions for watching the Prezi:

1. Click on "Start Prezi" in the center of the screen to begin the tutorial. 
2. Make sure to click on the play arrow at the bottom left to begin the first slide.
3. Most slides will have the following symbol - ♫ - any slide with this symbol contains audio. 
4. Hit play on videos within the Prezi to view them.

Community Profile Map with Social Explorer

The following presentation shows the basics of making a community map using Social Explorer. Why use Social Explorer? Basically, it allows you to do everything that Google Maps Engine does, but it also provides additional census data that can be used within your map. This tutorial provides just the basics for creating a map. Understanding what data is available via Social Explorer and how to display it is not covered in this tutorial. Please check out the tutorials within Social Explorer to see how to add data to your map.

There are 5 parts to the presentation. Each section contains audio and video clips:

  1. What does a map look like?
  2. Signing In
  3. Outlining your neigborhood
  4. Adding markers
  5. Adding Pictures

The only thing you need to get started is to log-in to Social Explorer and create your own account.
Here is a direct link to Social Explorer via the USC Libraries page: http://www.usc.edu/libraries/databases/records/database.php?db=2R7

Instructions for watching the Prezi:

1. Click on "Start Prezi" in the center of the screen to begin the tutorial. 
2. Make sure to click on the play arrown at the bottom left to begin the first slide.
3. Most slides will have the following symbol - ♫ - any slide with this symbol contains audio. 
4. Hit play on videos within the Prezi to view them.

GIS - Geographic Information System

GIS is an integrated collection of computer software and data used to view and manage information about geographic places, analyze spatial relationships, and model spatial processes. 

The sites and databases on this page use GIS to illustrate information about a community.

GIS provides a way to for gather and organize spatial data and related information so that it can be displayed and analyzed. 

For example, GIS allows you to select a map of a neighborhood or a city and place layers on that map signifiying where food banks are located and another layer to indicate the socioeconomic status of the area. This can inform service providers with information on where services are lacking.

Demographic information on maps

These are some widely available interactive maps that illustrate demographic information.

Databases with mapping capabilities

These databases allow you to look at demographic information on a table and on a map. You can create a map with layers of information.

Other Guides

The links below have instructions and videos on how to use the mapping databases.