Geographic Data

Social science research is increasingly relying on geographic data.   Geographic Information System (GIS) is a collection of computer hardware and software that can be used to manipulate geographically referenced information.  GIS used with geographic data can be used to link data sets linked to geographic features i.e. a recent study linked killings in Rwanda to geographic orientation in relation to radio towers for incendiary radio stations.  In addition, this software can be used to create maps to accompany research papers.

GIS Software

QuantumGIS: This is a free open source software package, which runs on Linux, Mac and Windows.  This software is very user friendly and provides step by step tutorial.

ArcGIS: This is the most detailed and robust GIS software available.  It is large download, trickier to use, and not available on Mac, so ensure you need the features for your project before downloading.  To  download, login at upper right.  Click Software > ESRI Software.  Click "Download ArcGIS 10 Desktop Software."

GIS Tutorials

GIS Support on Campus

GIS support is available at the CGA Help Desk located in Rm K-00A of Cgis - Knafel Building.  Office hours are held weekly on Tuesday, 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm. Contact contact@help.cga.harvard.edu for help online or to schedule an appointment.

Geographic Data

Diva-GIS : This provides free geographic data for any country in the world.

CShapes: CShapes is a dataset created by Nils B. Weidmann that provides historical maps of state boundaries and capitals in the post-World War II period.

Harvard Geospatial Library: Collection of map data in one database.

Harvard Map Collection: Many many different data and other resources for maps.