Departmental Papers (SPP)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



Relative to other fields, social work has been slow to adopt geographic information systems (GIS) as a tool for research and practice. This paper argues that GIS can benefit social work by: (1) continuing and strengthening the social survey tradition; (2) providing a framework for understanding human behavior; (3) identifying community needs and assets; (4) improving the delivery of social services; and (5) empowering communities and traditionally disenfranchised groups. Examples from a social work course on GIS and published social work research help illustrate these points. The paper concludes by considering the ways that social work can contribute to the development of GIS.


Postprint version. Published in Journal of Social Work Education, Volume 43, Issue 2, July 2007, pages 205-221.

Included in

Social Policy Commons



Date Posted: 14 September 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.