GIS for evaluation


How can one use his knowledge in GIS in evaluation? And Is GIS an essential skill evaluation development?


Hi Alsalehi.

I don’t use GIS because I don’t have training in it. So GIS is not a requirement to do evaluation.

However, if you do have GIS skills, then they can be useful in evaluations where that method is relevant and appropriate. I don’t have advice about how to do that, but I ran an internet search and found this information on using GIS in evaluation:

I hope that is helpful to you!


Thanks so much

I think it is better to be used when reporting


I have attended a training on Big data and GIS was a tool in large projects evaluation. Here is a link that might help:


Thank you Hayat. Really appreciate it



I am an evaluator working on my PhD at Western Michigan University. One of my research interests is GIS in evaluation. I will be presenting a poster on a study I did of AEA members in their use of GIS. So if you’re there, I would love for you to stop by and see it!

But yes, GIS can be very useful for evaluators. There are a couple big ticket items that GIS can be used for in evaluation:
-Sampling: If you are interested in collecting a representative sample for a particular geographic region, GIS can be used to identify subregions for cluster sampling, or if you have a file the contains all the parcels in an area, you can use that to randomly select households, etc.
-Data collection/measurement: GIS can be used to take measurements of conditions on the ground that can contribute to outcome indicators. This is highly useful for anyone working with agricultural, environmental, or urban development programs. Any sort of program for which an impact can be seen from space, GIS can measure changes on the ground using satellite imagery. Which is very cool.
-Spatial analysis: This is one of the more untapped capabilities that we find in GIS. For instance if we are evaluating an urban food access program, we could use GIS to calculate the distance by road to the nearest fresh fruit and vegetable stand in an urban area. We could use this to get an estimate of the proportion or number of people in a particular area who have access to such foods.
-Data visualization: Of course, this is the main way that people find GIS to be useful. It’s low-hanging fruit. Walk around AEA and you will see most of the posters and presentations about GIS have something to do with visualization.

So, an essential evaluation skill? Probably not. Very useful? Absolutely. One you need to learn yourself? Maybe, but there are a lot of people (like myself) who would love more collaborative evaluation work using my GIS skills. I’m always looking for ways to contribute, and this is not a skill everyone has to have.

I have been thinking about starting a website that serves as a resource for those evaluators interested in using GIS… With the loads of time I have right now.


This is a very great topic I personally hope to learn about, and I wish if i can find training about it. The website idea is really nice, and to have a place there for sharing resources and GIs work. Let us know when you develop it


As awkates pointed out, GIS can definitely be used for evaluation. I may also add that I’ve found GIS to be particularly helpful at early monitoring and assessment stages. For example, I’ve used GIS in the following scenarios:

  • To map villages and population centers to optimize the placement of community health workers. (Suppose from an eval standpoint, you could ask whether chw’s were placed well, or if there were unserved communities)
  • To better understand the population flow of Internally Displaced persons based on assessments. This was useful in real-time to help assess how conflicts in certain areas might lead to an influx of IDPs in another. Or to see areas where people are fleeing from, and determine if there were ways we could prevent displacement.
  • Predict how deeply a borehole might need to be drilled based wells that were monitored regionally.

These are just a few examples


I have used GIS in a multi program complex evaluation and it was really helpful. I recieved training in ArcGIS and am lucky enough to have other training available. However, if you want to step back from GIS specific software and merely seek geospatial visualization, Tableau is a wonderful option and Excel has added such capability as well. I find Tableau to be a bit more user friendly regarding geospatial data.

I would say GIS is not an essential skill but can be extremely helpful in an evaluator’s arsenal.


Thanks so much awkates for your kind and informative response.

I would love to see your poster about this topic however i am currently in Yemen and i need a miracle to come to the event :wink:

Thank you


Jwrozelle. You have brought up great ideas for the use of is and it would be really great if you can add more.

Thanks a lot