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CGA Projects

See also our Project Resume Slideshow.

  • Ben Lewis of the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis developed materials to geographically represent the genetic history of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., for the PBS documentary "African American Lives 2", segment "The Past Is Another Country" which was broadcast in 2008.  
  • Everything happens in space and time. From natural disasters to human catastrophes; from public health to energy sustainability; from urban growth to food security; 21st-century challenges call for a deep understanding of how the phenomena are linked in space and time. Solutions to these grand challenging issues require trailblazing new thinking,...
  • With funding from the Sloan Foundation and Harvard Dataverse, the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) has developed a prototype spatio-temporal visualization platform dubbed "the BOP" (Billion Object Platform). The first goal of the BOP is to provide the Dataverse platform with an API-accessible big data exploration tool which can support streaming...
  • Recent technological advances in remote sensing are moving terrestrial ecosystem monitoring beyond land cover change mapping, in the form of imaging spectrometry able to detect light intensity from tens to hundreds of contiguous spectral bands, providing more resolved information on ecosystem composition. In this project, imaging spectrometry was used to...
  • This interactive map visualizes the Fairbank Center alumni across the world.
  • A map depicting the Northern Sea route boundary and ports in the Arctic was published in Arctic Yearbook 2016.
  • The Linked Places Project provides both a conceptual model and practical schema for "historical movement."   Building upon, and funded by a resource commons grant from Pelagios, (the Linked Open Data platform for historical places and historical collections), the Linked Places project seeks to define the fundemental entities and relationships for historical...
  • ( HBS )
    The Harvard Business School's Baker Research Services and Center for Geographic Analysis share a strong cross center collaboration.   This relationship was initiated by Sarah Ericksen, who reached out to CGA for mapping services nearly 10 years ago.  This map showcases a few of the numerous mapping projects performed for various HBS faculty resulting from...
  • Though millions of geo-service layers exist just a click away, there is no good way to discover most of them. In the early days of the web it was hard to find a web page; this situation holds today for most geo-data. With a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the CGA is building a platform to create, maintain, and deploy a global public...
  • An archive of the datasets developed for the Regional Systems Analysis laboratory, under the direction of G. William Skinner. The core datasets, including GIS layers and tabular data, are being preserved in a repository on DataVerse. The archived materials demonstrate the methodology of Skinner's Regional Systems Analysis, dealing with the Levels in Urban...
  • A map depicting pituri exchange routes in northern Australia was made for a book.
  • The purpose of this web mapping application is to understand how well people can define locations of different groups in geographic space, and how this relates to their attitudes about towards these groups. Using two simple datasets such as US block groups and US zip code, an US basemap by Esri, and a classic web survey approach, the application asks users...
  • ( External )
  • The Temporal Gazetteer (TGAZ) is a search engine and machine-readable API for historical placenames.  Built upon toponymic databases of historical placenames from the China Historical GIS, the Toponimika - Historical Gazetteer of Russia, and the Gazetteer of Historical Monasteries in Greater Tibet, the TGAZ system architecture provides a method for...
  • CGA provided data conversion and acquisition support to aid geologic mapping efforts in northern Alaska.
  • For our 2015 CGA staff outing we went on a whale watch out of Boston Harbor.  Here is a story map with geotagged photos and our GPS route.
  • Prior to the Affordable Care Act, most states’ markets for individual health insurance were dominated by one or two insurer carriers and health plans. A principal goal of the Affordable Care Act is to encourage more carriers to compete in the new marketplaces and to offer plans that provide greater value to consumers.  These maps show the total numbers of...
  • The Rusian Genealogy Map is an attempt to render visually the dynastic connections made between the ruling family of Rus’ (the Volodimerovichi) and the rest of medieval European royalty in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The information represented on the map comes from the Rusian Genealogical Database ( compiled by Christian...
  • The Chinese Late Ming Dynasty Courier Route System application calculates the total distance between postal stations, the number of postal stations visited, and the number of counties (circa 1911) that were crossed. You can select postal stations from the pull-down menu or pick them by clicking on the map. Click the gear icon  to calculate a new route and...
  • ( HBS )
    A map of Kashmir showing the line of control, national boundaries, topography, roads, and apple growing districts was created, along with pictures of the people and natural landscape of Kashmir.
  • ( HSPH )
    In response the 7.8 Magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal, we are gathering information for anyone interested in the response by the larger geospatial community.    This response falls into several categories, such as:   emergency mapping,  geographic information about the quake, publishing and distribution of geographic datasets and imagery for analysis...
  • A web map was created to aid the dissemenation of the Surgical Safety Checklist.  The Surgical Safety team used the map to display participating hospital locations, and upload new hospital information and locations.
  • Maps were made with data from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database to be used for classroom lecture slides.
  • For research about changes in the natural environment’s effect on international conflict, we created a global framework with which hazard value rasters could be mapped in a per-country basis.
  • ( HMS )
    Geocoding 1.5 million patients’ addresses, and calculate the shortest road distance between patients and hospitals.
  • ( HKS )
    Developed code to automate scraping of Public Institution location information using the Google Places API.
  • To enhance the course materials presented in ChinaX (A MOOC on HarvardX), the CGA is creating a comprehensive series of maps and compiling a wide range of geospatial data.
  • ( HBS )
    In support of research by Harvard Business School Researchers, the CGA performed buffer analysis to develop variables.  Using Python programming, several analyses were performed in Kenya and Uganda around mobile money agent GPS data.  WorldPOP data were also processed.
  • ( HMS )
    In support of research for the Harvard Center for AIDS Research and scholars at Massachusetts General Hospital, the CGA performed Network Analysis between people being tested for HIV and Moblie testing sites.  We also provided mapping for the publication.
  • The CHGIS project has produced a comprehensive series of datasets related to the administrative geography of Chinese History. The data layers include nationwide coverages (for the years 1820 and 1911), and time series (for the Dynastic period from 221 BCE to 1911 CE). The administrative features include Provinces, Circuits, Prefectures, and Counties as they...
  • ( HKS )
    Map creation for multimedia case study on the International Criminal Court (ICC)
  • Maps showing the impact of the Sendai Earthquake were developed for Prof. Andrew Gordon's A Modern History of Japan, 3rd Edition.  (Oxford Press, 2014).      Data was developed for the Daishinsai Archive and JapanMap.
  • ( College )
    The CAS (Committee on African Studies) interactive web map visualizes the number of students by country in Africa for 2012 and 2013. Also, a pie chart is associated to display the purpose of travel and school affilation. Get the source code here:
  • ( HBS )
    The U.S Cluster Mapping is a web mapping prototype made for the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at the Harvard Business School, to display groups of interconnected companies, universities, and related institutions that arise out of linkages or externalities across industries.
  • This is a web mapping prototype to display over time the increase of Harvard International student from 1991-2010 by school. The application is built using Google Map API and Google Fusion Table.
  • This interactive website is in support of a multi-year project on genocide memorials in Rwanda. By showcasing original geographic, ideographic, and photographic data collected in the field, the website provides a fascinating glimpse into the ongoing project, and affords a heretofore unavailable, GIS-aided perspective on the spatial dimensions of memory in...
  • Based on the work of former Harvard Fellow and Lecturer, Dr. Justin Gest, the Crossroads of Migration was developed into a set of dynamic webmaps that visualize migration patterns from origin to destination countries.  Based on United Nations data from the year 2013, the map shows changing patterns for migration to and from 232 countries.   Gest's work on...
  • ( HSPH )
    To support health and environment related research, CGA is compiling an extensive GIS database of the Amazon region.  Layers compiled include hydrography, land cover, mineral deposits, dams, biomes, roads, railroads, and municipal boundaries.
  • The Out of Eden Walk is a 21,000-mile journalistic endeavor to create a global record of human life at the start of a new millennium as told by villagers, nomads, traders, farmers, soldiers, and artists who rarely make the news.  Sponsored and hosted by National Geographic Society, the project is led by Pulitzer Prize winning writer Paul Salopek who is...
  • Two weeks of training on GIS, map creation, GPS, spatial thinking, and data manipulation was provided to two members of the Cameroon Ministry of Basic Education, and one UNICEF member.  Dozens of choropleth maps were created, and uploaded to WorldMap along with other geographic data for Cameroon.
  • Maps were made for a movie "The Supreme Price" about a woman from a political family in Nigeria.  Maps were meant to show the diversity of Nigeria, and will be featured in the film, to be released early in 2015. Map on top: Map made to simulate the typical in flight map one sees in an airplane.  Used during the beginning of the movie, when the main...
  • ( HBS )
    Maps were created for a business case study for a hospital company that performs cataract surgery that is trying to select sites, and determine a ratio of hospital to diagnostic center distribution in Mexico City.
  • ( HSPH )
    Maps on Top:  Choropleth maps  by US region were made showing Botox and Total cosmetic procedures from data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Map on bottom: Businesses offering cosmetic procedures were mapped for Boston and Seattle.  Both maps made for the Body Image Community Indicators Mapping Project: A Pilot Study of Beauty Industry Spatial...
  • ( HSPH )
    The CGA taught a 2.5 day workshop on various ways to use GIS and mapping to help understand the effects of fracking on the environment and humans.  Organized in conjunction with the HSPH, the workshop attendees included researchers and policy makers from across the U.S.
  • ( GSAS )
    The Milwaukee Area Renters Study led by principal investigator Matthew Desmond, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Social Studies at Harvard, collects survey data on ~1,000 people renting property.  Detailed demographic information and details on housing conditions, tenant behavior, landlord policies and more are collected and analyzed.  CGA has made many...
  • Analysis was performed to determine all U.S. zip codes that border states, list the states they border, and calculate distances from the zip code centroids to the three nearest state borders.
  • ( College )
    A GIS containing 20 layers and thematic maps was put together and delivered to the researcher. Datasets included school, open space, and business locations, and income, % population employed by retail, and commute time thematic maps.
  • ( HBS )
    Maps showing patent production zip code origin and destination for the San Francisco area were produced. Arrows were added to visualize these.
  • Total distance of streets named "Main" in the U.S. was calculated (7,953 miles) and a list of counties with Main Streets was generated.
  • Training was provided to a group of researchers on how to georeference maps of Russia and Central Asia.
  • ( HSPH )
    Green space, average body mass index (BMI), and other characteristics were mapped by neighborhood for Cairo, Egypt.
  • ( GSAS )
    Training was provided on scanning, georeferencing, and digitizing to enable the researcher to map detailed village and road locations for the Congo.
  • Villages and health assets / centers were mapped to as part of a United Nations Afghan village assistance program.
  • ( GSAS )
    Temperature (shown above) and precipitation data was linked to maps of Russian administrative states and displayed thematically.
  • Total road length and density of roads per Chinese county was calculated
  • CGA creates Typhoon Haiyan Data Portal in support of geospatial information exchange for relief and reconstruction efforts after Philippines' super Typhoon on November 7, 2013.
  • In response to the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami (Mar 11th 2011), CGA established a rapid response data portal.   With funding from the Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies, the data layers were uploaded to an online webmap portal, where a number of additional data layers have been archived.   These resources comprise the geographic component of the...
  • Village locations and the religious centers (3 choices) each village used was mapped and symbolized with lines connecting origins and destinations. Data was collected and mapped between 1880 and 2001.
  • CGA created maps for the 2010 book:  "From Slavery to Freedom". The map below depicts colonial territorial claims in North America, and was compiled from various modern and historical sources.
  • For teaching purposes, a map of the solar analema for U.S. time zones was made from latitude, longitude coordinates.
  • ( HSPH )
    Great circle routes and distances were calculated from Boston to various cities.
  • International border crossings per country were calculated using world highways and county boundary layers for a human trafficking study.
  • ( HBS )
    Maps were created of Kibera, Kenya, and Gujarat, India for business case publications.
  • Satellite imagery was acquired through the GeoEye Foundation to aid environmental research near Hue, Vietnam.
  • ( HBS )
    CGA worked with Professor Geoffrey Jones and Carla Tishler of the Harvard Business School to provide mapping for a web-based system for visualizing global historical trade phenomena on a map. This project was undertaken to explore techniques for using GIS and animation technology to enhance classroom materials for a course at the Harvard Business School...
  • Areas on the Mediterranean Sea from which prominent landmarks were visible were mapped in order to reconstruct viewsheds used for navigation by Phoenician sailors.  
  • CGA creates Haiti Earthquake Data Portal in support of geospatial information exchange for relief and reconstruction efforts after Haiti's 7.0 magnitude earthquake on January 12, 2010.
  • CGA creates Chile Earthquake Data Portal in support of geospatial information exchange for relief and reconstruction efforts after Chile's 8.8 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on February 27, 2010.
  • ( HSPH )
    CGA aided the research team in geocoding teen addresses, obtaining census data, and creating clusters out of the data.
  • Maps of the Israel / Palestine area were created to help illustrate different political and geographic factors in this complex area. They are used lecture material and as a downloadable map series.
  • Land purchase records by Women were obtained and geocoded using the public land survey system as reference. Maps, analysis, and purchases over time animations were created. Full poster
  • ( HSPH )
    These boundaries were aggregated for use in SAS statistical software.
  • ( HSPH )
    An 800 m buffer was generated around the study area, and grocery stores from 2009, 2008, and 2007 were extracted from Esri Business Analyst.
  • ( HMS )
    To suppor the NIH study "Use of the built environment to promote physical activity in children" directed by Dr. Nicolas Oreskovic, the CGA processed GPS and accelerometer data, and mapped the results into the land use types of home, school, parks/playgrounds, street, and other. 
  • Oil pipeline, production and consumption data were mapped. The data was presented during a workshop "Oil and the Contemporary Globe" to illustrate how Google Earth can be used as a classroom teaching tool. Download the dataset, and learn more about this workshop.
  • Training on how to use ArcPad with a GPS was given, and a dataset containing places and administrative boundaries for Sierra Leone was assembled.
  • ( HBS )
    Address locations of public comments submitted to the US Department of Agriculture in regards to responding to two different sets of proposed regulatory standards for specialty meat labels – Grass-Fed and Naturally Raised - were geocoded to visually depict this phenomenon.
  • ( HMS )
    Fast food restaurants for the U.S. were extracted from the ESRI Business Analyst dataset, and overlaid with hospital locations. Hospitals with fast food restaurants in them were identified, and the distance from each hospital to the nearest fast food was calculated.
  • ( HSPH )
    Network and straight line distance buffers were created around census tract centroids for a health study.
  • Basemap data was compiled for a study in the Middle East  
  • The CGA developed materials to geographically represent the genetic history of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., for the PBS documentary African American Lives 2, segment The Past Is Another Country. A portion of this program featured Ben Lewis of the CGA, discussing and demonstrating the mapping he created with Dr. Gates. Click the image below to...
  • County level data on male and female life expectancy for the years 1961 - 1999 was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau and the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. CGA helped the researcher create an animated map showing female life expectancy through this time period for Washington State.
  • ( HSPH )
    ArcMap and Hawth’s Tools were used to generate intersection points for Newton, MA, to be used in a walkability study.
  • ( HSPH )
    Rainy and dry season satellite imagery was obtained through the GeoEye Foundation to aid this research in Mopti, Mali
  • ( HSPH )
    GPS data of sewer locations in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, was loaded into GIS and built into lines using attribute definitions.
  • ( HBS )
    A map showing beef plant and feedlot locations was made for slide presentations.
  • ( HBS )
    Power point slides were edited to reflect future scenarios generated by the researcher.
  • ( External )
    A GPS and assistance downloading mapped points were provided for mapping various humanitarian efforts in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.
  • ( HSPH )
    This research evaluates the spatial and temporal patterns of air pollution in an urban environment. CGA helped download and map the initial data. Also view the poster displayed at the CGA's Spatio-Temporal GIS Workshop: Influence of Traffic on Local Air Quality in Boston, MA: A Community‐University Partnership
  • ( HSPH )
    The Medical Foundation partners with the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program (MTCP) which is a youth-led, statewide movement focused on tobacco prevention and control. This MTCP project focused on locations of schools compared to tobacco retailers, and the level of tobacco advertising compliance (number and placement of ads) at each retail location. CGA...
  • Historical map images of world boundaries each decade from 1940 – 2000 were downloaded from Wikipedia, vectorized into shapefile format, and attributed with country names.
  • ( GSAS )
    Organizing and assembling numerous human and physical geographic datasets for a basemap of the Congo, DRC.
  • ( HSPH )
    All census tracts in Massachusetts were processed using a python script to determine adjacent tracts for all tracts. This was converted to a Tracts to Text tool, which is available for download.
  • ( HMS )
    Restaurant locations within a 1 mile buffer around the MA towns of Framingham, Ashland, and Holliston were extracted using ESRI Business Analyst, for a Public Health study.
  • ( HSPH )
    Source data for a map depicting health facilities could not be found, so CGA provided training for georeferencing and digitizing to capture the facility locations.
  • ( HMS )
     This study evaluated the driving habits of patients fitted with special bioptic eyeglasses, video cameras, and GPS in their vehicles. CGA helped overlay the raw data on Google Earth, and generated latitude, longitude coordinates for all road intersections in New England.
  • A basemap depicting the Mystic, Hudson, Charles, and Mohegan river locations was created for overlay
  • Addresses of foreclosed properties were geocoded.
  • ( HKS )
    Training was provided to most effectively map streets, administrative boundaries (shown below), and address locations for this study.
  • Business listings were extracted for California from the Esri Business Analyst dataset.
  • CGA created basemaps of the Northeastern U.S showing topography and hydrology for the researcher to overlay Native American village locations.
  • ( HSPH )
    CGA provided geocoding, GIS training, and built a New England road network dataset for this project.
  • The CGA assisted in geocoding this dataset for a post hurricane Katrina study on adjuncated property distribution.
  • ( HSPH )
    Using a GPS and air monitoring equipment, this study mapped air pollution levels in Accra. The CGA assisted by plotting this GPS, and creating a grid the researchers used for organizing the survey.
  • This paper analyzed the reasons for the stubbornly low labor productivity in East Germany. Specifically, we distinguished between two main causes, namely worker characteristics (e.g. skills) vs. job characteristics (e.g. capital or infrastructure). We built a spatial labor market model that allows for commuting. If less favorable worker characteristics...
  • DARMC Project website From a general survey of the later Roman empire from ca. 250 to 700, the course "History 11111: The fall of Roman Empire" is shifting to an investigation of the question of the fall of the Roman Empire. It will emphasize archaeology, primary written sources in translation, web-based resources, and the application of new natural...
  • Engineering block maps of roads and villages for Orissa, India were scanned and digitized into a geodatabase for use in a transportation-accessibility study.
  • ( GSE )
    Driving distances between all European NUTS level 3 census centroids were calculated for use in statistical modeling.
  • As the point of departure of a massive emigration between the 19th and 20th centuries and the point of arrival of high flows of immigration today, demographic data concerning Italy's migrations lends itself to a geographical visualization on such a global scale. To better emphasize the differences in the continental scale data, three cartographic techniques...
  • ( GSAS )
    This project analyzed educational disparities in Rwandan states. CGA helped with mapping initial asset lists to the Rwanda states, and ArcMap guidance.
  • A dataset provided by the New York City Housing Authority consisting of ~20,000 condominium addresses with sale dates and dollar amounts was geocoded. Dot density maps were made displaying the locations, sale amounts, and year sold for the properties (First map below). Geographic proximity from each condo to schools, hospitals, water, parks, Central Park,...
  • ( HBS )
    ESRI Business Analyst was used to extract ~1,500 census variables for all 25,374 U.S. census designated places.
  • ( HSPH )
    The research question for this study is does one’s neighborhood environment make one more susceptible to Asthma attacks? A set of Asthma patients addresses for New York City was geocoded. Environmental conditions such as proximity to major roads and amount of tree canopy were calculated. Patients were monitored for 18 months at 6 month intervals. Patients...
  • ( HBS )
    An "art design receptivity" scoring system was created using a formula that took into account household income, education level, family size, density of architects, and presence of competitor outlets per zip code. Choropleth maps showing the resulting scores were made of the 25 largest business districts in the United States; the Washington, D.C. map is...
  • ( HSPH )
    Zip code information for Indian Physicians practicing in the northeastern U.S. was obtained and geocoded. A thematic map displaying high concentrations of Indian physicians in red ranging to low concentrations in blue was created (below).
  • ( HBS )
    Proportional symbol maps were made showing European pharmaceutical and biotech headquarter locations.
  • ( GSAS )
    CGA made maps for a doctoral dissertation on Native Americans in New England in the 18th century.
  • Historical KKK addresses were geocoded in various cities to analyze clustering or proximity to certain landforms / features.
  • German electoral boundaries from a 19th Century map were converted to vectors, built into polygons, and attributed. These were used to visualize 19th Century German census voting patterns. Service provided for Daniel Ziblatt, FAS – Political Science.
  • This project generated digital vector data sets from detailed paper map of the Confederate States. The digitizing of the maps was performed by an outside vendor, East View. The CGA managed the correspondence with the vendor and performed quality assurance and quality control reviews of the resulting digital vector files. CGA staff also built a web-based...
  • ( HKS )
    Consulting, data mining, and training was provided for this project that created a report on how GIS and spatial analysis can help efforts of the Lambeth Endowed Charities, London.
  • ( HMS )
    This study examines the predictors and implications of hospitalizations to nursing homes in New York State. Among many other predictors, the CGA takes responsibility for geographical distance calculation between nursing homes and hospital facilities. For this project the CGA geocoded the addresses of hospitals and nursing homes, and then performed network...
  • Chinese population data go back 2000 years. The challenge was to distribute this population across the landscape in a manner that most likely reflects patterns of settlement, rather than assuming that population density within an administrative unit is uniformly distributed. For this reason, an automated model was created for combining political and...
  • ( HMS )
    The animation below (click on the image to see the effect) shows the potential change in sea level with global warming, and the impact that would have on coastal morphology. The animation begins at current sea level, and progresses to 1 meter rise, through 3, 6, 9, and finally to a 12 meter rise in sea level.
  • The CGA assisted with the development of digital vector files based on detailed planimetric maps of Ife, Nigeria.
  • In response to concerns about deforestation and habitat loss, many countries around the globe have set aside large tracts of land with special conservation status. However, in many instances such lands are home to existing human settlements, agriculture, or timber production. Clearly, environmental policies have the potential to change patterns of land use...
  • ( GSD )
    The CGA developed an ArcObjects application that allows researchers to estimate population within a specified radii around certain points, using a raster dataset of population density.
  • This project assisted the development of maps for a book manuscript: "The Common Pot", using GIS to map historical sites and waterways associated with Native American nations in the northeast.
  • This project calculated average water depth by zip code zone for New Orleans right after Katrina. Input data set was a table of LiDAR points with geographic coordinates and water depths. The technical challenge was the number of points to process - more than 26 million points for 37 zip code zones in 535 square miles. The normal spatial statistics method...
  • ( HBS )
    For support of the course "Doing Business in China in the Early 21st Century" the CGA created maps to show economic development in the different regions of China.
  • ( HMS )
    The CGA developed summary data for a public health study investigating access to businesses that may impact obesity rates. An ArcObjects procedure was developed to parse twenty categories of businesses by SIC codes from a nationwide business location file. A second procedure counted the number of businesses by category for each Census Tract. The resulting...
  • The ROAD data includes election returns, socioeconomic summaries, and demographic measures of the American public. It includes every election at and above State House, along with party registration and other variables, in each state for the roughly 170,000 precincts nationwide. The geographic unit of ROAD is based on the Census Bureau defined Minor Civil...
  • The CGA created maps of actual and hypothetical congressional districts for comparison. The maps of actual districts use the 106th Congressional District Boundaries obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau. The maps of hypothetical congressional districts are generated from lists of coordinate pairs provided by the researchers. Each coordinate pair is intended...