Geospatial Data Science


Accra, Ghana, is at the center of Associate Professor Ryan Engstrom’s work using high-spatial resolution satellite data to map developing cities

Accra, Ghana, is at the center of Associate Professor Ryan Engstrom’s work using high-spatial resolution satellite data to map developing cities.

Geospatial skills are in high demand to help solve real-world problems and enhance an organization's efficiency and effectiveness. Individuals skilled in gathering and interpreting geographic information to create maps are needed more than ever across many industries.

Geographical information systems (GIS) links spatial (location-based) information to database (tabular) information, a process that helps visually show patterns, relationships and trends. This means of analysis offers a new perspective to information that is practically absent from exclusively tabular data.

Spatial analysis studies the distribution and clustering of events and/or objects in space in conjunction with their attribute data — such as street names or number of students at a school. The Department of Geography is the only entity at GW with the skill and training programs required to offer these types of analyses.

In recent years, the department has become an important vehicle for student geospatial training and support. We offer students customized, short-term geospatial projects in partnership with both university and external groups. Past projects include a proposal for “green” additions to the GW campus and tailored GIS workshops for World Bank staff.

"It’s a very real feeling to walk the streets and visit those communities you saw in map grids and satellite images. It reminds you that even doing something on a small scale can have a big impact in the world."

Siri Knudsen

BS ‘19

Spatial Analysis Lab


The Department of Geography’s Spatial Analysis Lab consists of 27 networked PCs featuring the latest in both proprietary and open source GIS and remote sensing software.

After joining a lab-based class, students receive a lab account login. Students who are not in the department but wish to access the spatial analysis software should contact the Geography Department.

Note that there is a charge for printing, unless students have paid a lab fee.

Spatial Analysis Lab
Samson Hall, Room 109
2036 H St. NW
Lab Manager: Richard Hinton
Operations Supervisor: Andrii Berdnyk


Faculty in This Focus








Geospatial Project Collaborators

Geospatial technology has wide-reaching possible applications that also fulfill GW’s commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and community service. Geography students often design short-term projects in cooperation with university departments and offices, local nonprofits, multilateral agencies, government organizations and private institutions. Many GIS projects started through the department's Center for Urban and Environmental Research have evolved into substantial long-term research and development activities.

  • Children's National Medical Center
  • Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team
  • International Food Policy Research Institute
  • National Science Foundation
  • The World Bank