Spatial Data Analysis: Introduction to GIS and Visualisation

Session Report
Manya Deshpande

An online International Summer School Program on “Data, Monitoring and Evaluation” is a two-month immersive online hands-on certificate training course organized by IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi. The day 8 of the program started with a session on “Spatial Data Analysis: Introduction to GIS and Visualisation” by Dr. Ismail Haque.

About the Data, Monitoring and Evaluation program

The training program was conducted by an expert group of academicians which included 

  1. Prof Nilanjan Banik, Professor and Program Director (BA, Economics and Finance) at Mahindra University, Hyderabad
  2. Prof Mukul AsherFormer Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of SingaporeVisiting Distinguished Professor at IMPRI 
  3. Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Associate Professor, Economics, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan; Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI. 

Other notable experts include 

  1. Dr Devender Singh, Global Studies Programme, University of Freiburg, Germany; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI 
  2. Prof Gummadi Sridevi,Professor, School of Economics, University of Hyderabad; Visiting Professor, IMPRI 
  3. Dr Amar Jesani,Independent Researcher and Teacher (Bioethics and Public Health); Editor, Indian Journal of Medical Ethics 
  4. Dr Radhika Pandey,Senior Fellow, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), New Delhi 
  5. Prof Vibhuti Patel,Visiting Distinguished Professor, IMPRI
  6. Dr Ismail Haque, Fellow, ICRIER and Visiting Fellow, at  IMPRI
  7. Mr V. Ramakrishnan,Managing Director, Organisation Development, Singapore
  8. Prof VinaVaswani,Director, Centre for Ethics, and Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Yenepoya (Deemed to be) University, Mangalore
  9. Mr Rakesh Pandey, ​Assistant Policy Researcher, Doctoral Scholar, Pardee RAND Graduate School, RAND Corporation, USA 
  10. Prof Nalin Bharti, Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Patna; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI.

The Conveners for the course were Dr Simi MehtaCEO & Editorial Director, IMPRI and Dr Arjun Kumar, Director at IMPRI.

Fiza Mahajan, a researcher at IMPRI, opened the event by introducing the distinguished panelists and welcoming the speakers and attendees to the program.

The session was taken up by Dr. Ismail Haque from the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Jamia Millia Islamia. This bit centered around the concept of ‘Geographic Information Systems’ (GIS), it’s use, software and the key paths to operating it. These four key ways namely were: Georeferencing, Digitization and Shapefile creation, adding data to GIS shapefile and map-making. 

Georeferencing, Digitization and Shapefile (GIS)

He kicked off with an appropriate introduction and functions of the GIS or the science of ‘where’. In short, GIS is an impressive system that can capture, store, manage, analyse and present all types of geographically referenced or spatial data. He then explained how GIS systems can help better problem-solving and decision-making by locating features and relationships between them along with mapping quantities, densities and trajectories. Then came the introduction to three, premier GIS softwares; QGIS, ArcGIS and MapInfo. 

 After this, he elaborated on the methodical six-step procedure involved in GIS mapping. First comes the feature representation which can be classified into two types: vector and raster data model. Vector features can be decomposed into three different geometric primitives: points, polylines or polygons whereas raster data models use an array of cells or pixels to represent real-world objects. 

The subsequent step is Georeferencing. According to his instructions, one may simply access the Georefrencer by opening GIS (the software choice for this segment) choosing ‘Layer’ and then selecting ‘Georefrencer’. In order to run the system successfully, he in detail elaborated on the steps involved including opening the raster image (.jpg/tiff), accessing transformation settings, concept of GCP points, etc. 

Visualisation and More

The succeeding steps would typically be along the lines of ‘Digitisation, Adding excel data to attribute the table of a shapefile, Mapping and finally, Data Visualisation’.

The premier part of his session was the engrossing demonstration of the initial steps of map-making. For this, he displayed a how-to on ‘Geo-referencing’ on the QGIS software. Very patiently, he took the course participants step-by-step in each part of the endeavor.   

With this, comes the end of the final component of the eight-day Data, Monitoring and Evaluation course. Fiza Mahajan, a researcher at IMPRI, concludes the session by thanking all the panelists for their enlightening sessions of the eight-day course and the participants for raising important concerns during the program.

Acknowledgement: Manya Deshpande is Research Intern at IMPRI.

Read more event reports of IMPRI here

Introduction to Impact Evaluation Methods

Project Management: KRA’s and KPI’s



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