SEARCH THE COUNCIL WEBSITE About Urban Strategies Council

Our mission is to eliminate persistent poverty by working with partners to transform low-income neighborhoods into vibrant, healthy communities

GIS Services Available

The Council can provide the following GIS/Spatial Analysis services on a fee-for-service basis to community-based organizations, student groups, public agencies and non-profits. We typically do not provide these services to for-profit businesses and only partner with organizations who align with our mission and operating philosophies.

  • Guidance on establishing GIS/mapping systems within your organization from software and hardware selection to staff training (with our materials or by recommending the most appropriate local options) and data management
  • Planning for and development of online mapping systems for internal organization use or public access
  • Establishing spatial databases to handle large volumes of data and large numbers of users
  • Specialized mapping services- we can take your data and provide high quality maps for your planning, community process, strategizing or analysis. This can be either an project-based arrangement at reasonable hourly rates or longer term contracts for fixed amounts.
  • Full spatial analysis projects- we source the required data and provide mapping and analysis to fulfill your needs
  • Forums- we have participated in local forums on the adoption of GIS in non-profits and plan on providing more of these services in future!

Our staff members have experience with almost all the current GIS tools and offer an un-biased perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of all the systems currently available on the market. Our skills cover:

MapInfo V3-V8 Oracle Spatial 8i/9i
ArcGIS 3.2 – 9.2 MySQL
ArcIMS PostgressSQL/PostGIS
ArcSDE InterMaps
Manifold GIS MapServer
Intergraph’s GeoMedia GIS ClusterSeer

Our Research & Technology team is supported by a generous software donation from ESRI's Conservation Grants progam.

For more information on how we can help your organization with your mapping project or the roll-out of an enterprise GIS system please contact our Research & IT Director, Steve Spiker on (510)-463-2951 or email Steve

GIS Examples

GIS Portfolio

The Council has a long history of being an innovator in the application of new technologies to old problems, especially concerning the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The Council was the first CBO to use GIS in the Bay Area for demographic analysis and planning purposes. We have an experienced staff with strong GIS skills covering the areas of health, public agency asset management, town planning, redevelopment, housing, crime and public safety, environmental impacts and land management and also in sociology. We are especially skilled in applying technical tools, such as GIS, to common problems in a way that many specialist organizations cannot. As an intermediary we work with our partners and residents to both strengthen their GIS skills and to provide more specialized GIS consultancy services when an organization does not have the technical or analytical capacities in-house to apply these technologies themselves. We also work to help organizations build these capacities in-house when appropriate.

Our organization has successfully applied GIS technologies to the following areas:

Local Government

  • Developed asset management systems for local governments with web-based mapping portals for staff without GIS skills to access city information
  • Assisted the City of Oakland to establish a GIS system to manage their assets and plan for emergencies after the Oakland Hills fires
  • Assisted the Alameda County Public Health Department (CAPE) to establish their mapping program

Public Health

  • Selected as contractor to provide all GIS/Spatial analysis to the Santa Clara Valley Health Plan & Hospital System.
  • Provided mapping support for Community Needs Assessments and Health Impact Assessments
  • Spatial analysis of disease and hospitalization data to examine geographic trends, areas of need, barriers to service
  • Tracking of vector-borne diseases and use of spatial cluster analysis to detect infected water bodies to direct abatement programs and to assist with local health warning campaigns
  • Mapping of health system assets and usage patterns- inflow and outflow from specific geographies and patterns of system use for different demographic profiles
  • Developed Statewide GIS services system for epidemiological and public health services in Western Australia
  • Prototyped and implemented emergency 911 GIS system for psychiatric emergency calls to help operators direct patients to the closest suitable car facilities
  • Prototyped and developed web based mapping system for aggregate reporting of morbidity and mortality data at tract, zip, city and county level
  • Established Oracle Spatial database to house all health related spatial data for state system
  • Conducted trainings across California for CPEHN (California Pan-Ethnic Health network) on the use of GIS and online data and mapping systems for public health advocacy and analysis

Online Data Warehouses

  • Designed and implemented city-wide GIS system for community mapping and public agency planning:
  • Designed and managed county-wide online GIS platform used by community organizations, government departments and residents:
  • Guided the development of the state-wide online mapping service hosted by UCLA:
  • Developed training materials and conducted trainings across the state in the use of online GIS systems

Community Safety and Justice

  • Prepared map series for the Urban Institute’s Reentry Mapping Network project- spatial analysis of location of parolees and probationers to guide in provision of services to formerly incarcerated individuals (website)
  • Conducted initial investigations using GIS to establish the relationship between liquor outlets and violent crime in Oakland (report)
  • Mapping of homicides in Oakland and a newly initiated project to begin weekly analysis of all police reporting data in the City of Oakland (website)

Redevelopment and Housing

  • Developed mapping to support analysis of the foreclosure crisis and to assist in the planning of interventions and the development of a Community Land Trust (Website)
  • Provided mapping to assist in navigating the complex redevelopment process in the BayView Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco (Website)

Organization Support & Development

  • Training of CBO and government agency staff in the use of GIS- from the perspective of professionals with experience in the field
  • Mapping client distribution, service allocation, assets, community services, crime and other factors to aid in strategic planning and operation assessments
  • Mapping demographic and public agency data to guide in the provision of services to those most in need

Organization Technical Support

  • Presentation on the top tech resources for non profit organizations given at the Craigslist Foundation Bootcamp in October 2008 (PPT 3.5MB)


Urban Strategies Council
1720 Broadway Ave, Floor 2
Oakland, CA 94612.
Phone: 510.893.2404  |  Fax: 510.893.6657  
admindesk at
Send mail to webmaster at with questions or comments about this website.
Copyright © 2000-2008 Urban Strategies Council