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Uniquely position your GIS projects through a Design lens!

Please join us at our open free Zoom session Applications & Tools for GIS with a Design Lens Toward A Better World on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, 6-6:45PM. Click to register for your free ticket via EventBrite, where you will find the Zoom invitation link.

Also available as an independent introductory online workshop to the Certificate Program on Thursday, December 3, 2020, 6—9PM:

Acquiring Free and Open Data (XSAVI-710)—please see details below.


Who the program is for:

The program is for all aspiring and practicing ...

  • architects
  • designers
  • ecology/environmental/forestry/conservation/wildlife professionals
  • engineers
  • educators 
  • information/technology/business professionals
  • journalists 
  • public health professionals, 
  • urban, regional & land use planners

​... and anyone engaged in the design industry or related professions, who seek to enhance their knowledge and skillset in GIS through a design lens in order to share compelling stories with their constituencies.

As location-based data becomes ubiquitous in our society, employers are recognizing the importance of mapping, GIS (Geographic Information Systems), statistics and visualization, as well as effective design. Spatial data requires special considerations for use and mapping is transforming how we communicate and interpret data.

Originally conceived by Pratt Institute's Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative (SAVI), our  GIS and Design Certificate Program is uniquely positioned to effectively prepare diverse professionals to meet the growing demand in spatial analysis visualization in a variety of fields.

Using an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach, our program faculty team of experienced professionals in the field engage students in studying GIS principles, analyzing spatial data, developing technical mapping skills, and applying the lessons learned to their practice by learning traditional, robust analytical software along with the latest interactive tools and coding skills. 

Through a project-based practice combined with lectures and research, the emphasis on design enables students to develop creative problem-solving skills and make compelling, data-driven maps and visualizations to solve real-world challenges.

Our certificate program teaches students how to acquire and create data for use in various projects. Proper assessment of spatial data quality is a core component of the Program. Using software like Esri’s ArcGIS and QGIS, students learn many of the powerful tools available for transforming spreadsheets into stylized maps and creative graphics.

Sharing GIS products through the web and mobile applications is inctreasingly in demand. Our certificate  courses examine the principles of design for the web, interactive design, and the technical underpinnings of online mapping using Carto and Mapbox, among others. With expertise in the programming languages JavaScript and Pytho, students learn to build dynamic, web-based maps, mobile apps, and methods for incorporating graphic data into websites and blogs.


This certificate program requires the successful completion of 180 hours of study, corresponding to six core courses. It can be completed in two semesters (e.g., fall & spring, or spring & summer for example) or within the summer term. You can start the program in the fall, spring, or summer. The summer term offers all six certificate courses in an accelerated delivery format. 


XSAVI-700    Spatial Thinking, Data and Design Foundations (pre-requisite)
XSAVI-702    Introduction to GIS (pre-requisite)
XSAVI-805    Advanced GIS
XSAVI-810    Python for Geospatial
XSAVI 780    Interactive Web Mapping, Programming and Design I
XSAVI-755    Graphic Design & UX for GIS



XSAVI-700    Spatial Thinking, Data and Design Foundations -- pre-requisite
XSAVI-702    Introduction to GIS -- pre-requisite
XSAVI-805    Advanced GIS 
XSAVI 780    Interactive Web Mapping, Programming and Design I


XSAVI-700    Spatial Thinking, Data and Design Foundations -- pre-requisite
XSAVI-702    Introduction to GIS (pre-requisite) 
XSAVI-810    Python for Geospatial 
XSAVI-755    Graphic Design & UX for GIS


XSAVI-700    Spatial Thinking, Data and Design Foundations -- pre-requisite
XSAVI-702    Introduction to GIS (pre-requisite)
XSAVI-805    Advanced GIS
XSAVI-810    Python for Geospatial)
XSAVI 780     Interactive Web Mapping, Programming and Design I
XSAVI-755    Graphic Design & UX for GIS



Learn to tell stories with maps and data through a design lens. There is more than meets the eye when it comes to creating accurate, compelling visualizations based on GIS analysis. This course introduces the fundamentals of spatial theory/spatial relationships, cartography, design, and data visualization. Acquire the skills to properly assess and analyze spatial data and maximize the message of your map output through engaging design. The course is for beginning and experienced GIS users as it covers important aspects of design, which are often overlooked in traditional GIS courses.

Pre-Requisite: Basic computer skills.

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Learn how to use the best available analytical software for GIS. As you study the basics of spatial theory, projections, and cartography, become proficient with the most commonly used software toolsets and geoprocessing techniques. Through practical examples, learn how to create data from scratch, geocode tabular data, and work with open data and census information; all with the goal of understanding spatial patterns related to environmental and/or urban issues. Investigate how to choose the best data sources and create professional quality map output. 

Prerequisites: XSAVI 700 or comparable experience; basic computer skills.

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Advanced GIS presents more sophisticated and powerful spatial analysis tools. This course focuses on expansive analytical projects using vector and raster data in GIS modeling, network analysis, density analysis, and 3D environments. Additionally, students will learn exploratory data analysis and be introduced to spatial statistics. Tools include GeoDa and ArcGIS extensions such as Network, Spatial, 3D, and Geostatistical Analyst. Prerequisites: XSAVI 700 & XSAVI 702 or comparable experience.

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Unlock the secrets behind all those impressive maps you see on the internet. Develop the essential skills needed to build dynamic web-based maps. Learn the principles of GIS, design for the web, interactive design, and user experience. By course completion, you will be able to work with a programming language like JavaScript and online mapping platforms in order to create professional looking interactive maps and map-based charts and graphics. Also learn tools and software like Git, Leaflet, HTML, CSS, Javascript, and web mapping tools (CARTO, MapBox). 

Prerequisite: Basic programming experience is helpful but not required.

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Position yourself by learning how to program and unlock the potential of geospatial scripting and programming with Python. Python is one of the most popular, user-friendly and in-demand programming languages for Geospatial applications. Move beyond the out-of-the-box capabilities of desktop GIS by learning how to automate GIS processes, create custom/shareable tools and scripts, synthesize data and apply geoprocessing in ways that reduce manual overhead and help iterate and generate new insights more quickly. We’ll introduce you to Python and then dive into Geopandas and other useful data and geospatial Python libraries for data science/data carpentry (pandas), interacting with API’s for applications such as geocoding (geopy) and data retrieval (US Census API) and creating mapping applications and visualizations. Prerequisites: XSAVI-700 and XSAVI-702 or comparable experience. Recommended: XSAVI-810 and XSAVI 780.  


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User Experience is at the core of cartographic design and data visualization. This course is structured around the fundamental processes of UX design, using them to dig more deeply into design fundamentals as we build a project that looks at a real-world problem identified by the class (or instructors) in our community. Students will conduct user research, find and create datasets, explore data visually with GIS and chart building tools, design an interactive presentation using wire framing and prototyping, and finally validate their designs through user testing and iterative refinement. The course will cover graphic design topics such as typography, composition and color theory; design thinking, user research, dataset creation, tools such as Illustrator / Inkscape, wire framing, and prototyping. Potential tools to use for interactive projects include Carto, Esri, Mapbox.

Prerequisites: XSAVI-700 and XSAVI-702 or comparable experience. Recommended: XSAVI-810 and XSAVI 780.  

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Also available as an independent introductory online workshop to the Certificate Program:



The open data movement has liberated thousands of datasets. You too can access information that was once only available to government agencies. This three-hour workshop provides an intensive overview of where to find the best data, what questions to ask when acquiring data, and how to think critically about data quality and accuracy. By the end of the workshop, you will have a firm grounding in how to apply these techniques in visual analysis outputs and web maps.

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Registration opens on July 17 for the Fall 2020 semester. Registration opens in mid-November for Spring 2021.

For more information on a course or to register, please click on the “View Course and Add to Cart Button” below the course(s) of choice after registration opens.

Registration Deadline: 5 business days before class starts. 

Early registration is encouraged to secure your seat in the course(s) of choice. 

After the deadlines, students may be admitted if  space remains in the selected course(s). 


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Image courtesy of  SAVI, taken from the 'Who takes care of NY?' exhibition, September 2019, Queens museum, Queens, NY.