Geographic information systems (GIS) as an evaluation tool

Ralph Renger, Adriana Cimetta, Sydney Pettygrove, Seumas Rogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Evaluators must seek methods that convey the results of an evaluation so that those who intend on using the information easily understand them. The purpose of this article is to describe how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be used to assist evaluators to convey complex information simply, via a spatial representation. Although the utility of GIS in such disciplines as geography, planning, epidemiology and public health is well documented, a review of the literature suggests that its usefulness as a tool for evaluators has gone relatively unnoticed. The paper posits that evaluators may have not recognized the potential of GIS, because of two beliefs that GIS can only provide cross-sectional, snapshots of data, and hence cannot depict change and that many of the available databases that underlie GIS do not contain data relevant to the evaluation at hand. This article demonstrates how GIS can be used to plot change over time, including impact and outcome data gathered by primary data collection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-479
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Evaluation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management


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