This guide is designed to assist Architecture students, faculty, and staff who are interested in using GIS in teaching or research. Content is focussed on addressing the specific needs and interests of students in the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts. As you explore GIS, please use these pages to keep up to date on GIS events on campus, learn about new data acquisitions, and connect with library resources for GIS.
What is GIS?
Our Geographic Information Systems LibGuide gives a general introduction to GIS concepts and details the many software, support, and training resources available at WashU. See that page for more details.
How does GIS apply to Architecture?
GIS has many potential uses in architectural research and practice, especially in the the areas of urban design, community planning, and the site selection process. One of the main areas where architecture and GIS overlap is in the digital representation of real world objects. Architectural projects tend to be site specific but many projects will incorporate ancillary local and regional scale datasets and GIS is a valuable source for such information and for the digital features necessary to render them in site drawings. GIS can also be used in conjunction with other visualization tools, such as AutoCAD, Google Earth, Adobe Illustrator, and Google Sketchup, to create dynamic and complex drawings. An additional benefit of GIS lies in its analytical capabilities, wherein multiple phenomena can be linked by location and viewed through a spatial lens. Information on an area's geology, soil type, infrastructure, and demographic information, for example, can all be taken into consideration when planning a structure or selecting a site and these types of data are commonly available in GIS formats.