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Christopher Goranson

Christopher Goranson


Distinguished Service Professor

Chris Goranson is a distinguished service professor, teaching classes in GIS, data visualization, and at the intersection of design, innovation, and analytics.

Chris has a range of experience in both city and the federal government. Most recently Chris was at 18F managing digital services consulting, strategy and design projects for the federal government. 18F is an office within the General Services Administration that collaborates with other agencies to fix technical problems, build products, and improve how government serves the public through technology with a focus on user research and user-centered design. Projects included modernization efforts around the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs at NASA and National Science Foundation; digital strategy consulting for the U.S. Department of Commerce Data Corps / National Technical Information Service; digital services consulting at the U.S. Department of the Interior, and agile contracting consulting for the U.S. Forest Service, Navy, and USAID.

As a Presidential Innovation Fellow during the Obama Administration, Chris worked with the Department of the Interior and 18F to launch the Every Kid in a Park initiative and identify other opportunities for improving government services through the adoption of agile software strategies and design thinking. 

Before joining the Federal government, Chris was the Director of the Parsons Institute for Information Mapping (PIIM) at The New School in New York City (now the Center for Data Arts), and taught GIS for Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Work included innovative information design support for medical records systems for the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs, and working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on design guidelines for big data. 

Before working at The New School, Chris was the Director of the GIS Center at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The GIS Center was responsible for providing consulting, map production and geographic information analysis support to the department’s many public health professionals. Projects included the National Children’s Study, the annual Nicotine Replacement Therapy program, spatial analysis support for the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, the epidemiologic H1N1 investigation and subsequent school vaccination program, FGDC training with Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), spatial analysis and mapping support for New York City’s Community Health Survey.

Chris has also worked as a land use planner, IT Manager for an environmental engineering company, and provided GIS and other professional services support to a number of federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, and General Services Administration.

While pursuing a Master of Geographic Information Systems from Penn State, Chris completed his Thesis on cluster detection comparisons used in syndromic surveillance, pursuing the work through a National Science Foundation award comparing approaches of disease cluster detection methods between the NYC Dept. of Health and Japan’s National Institute of Public Health.

Courses Taught


  • 90-753 - Advanced Geographical Information Systems
  • 94-802 - Geographic Information Systems
  • 90-783 - Policy Innovation Lab
  • 94-870 - Telling Stories with Data