Work type



Capability Area

Research and Survey

Data Analyst - GIS Specialist

Apply now Job no: 497612 Work type: Regular Full-Time Location: Chicago – 55 East Monroe Street, IL Capability Area: Statistics & Methodology


NORC at the University of Chicago is seeking a GIS specialist with a quantitative and/or programming background to join our Methodology and Quantitative Social Sciences department and contribute to social science-based research projects.


The Methodology and Quantitative Social Sciences department provides expertise on state-of-the-art methodologies that lead to insights about our society and inform decision-making. Quantitative social scientists and data scientists provide expertise in methods to advance social science research in areas such as data gathering, evaluation, and implementation. Examples include spatial analysis and modeling, causal inference methods, assessing measurement properties (e.g., psychometrics) of new measures; machine learning/natural language processing, network methods, and other complex quantitative analysis. Research methodologists provide expertise on how to use existing and emerging data sources of importance for NORC projects; harnessing novel data sources and technologies to improve data gathering; assessing and improving data quality; understanding the cognitive processes informing the user experience for respondents; designing instruments for multiple modes; and developing and testing novel techniques to enhance recruitment and retention of study participants. The Department collaborates with all NORC subject matter departments and works closely with the Statistics and Data Science Department on areas of synergy and intersection.

  • Supporting GIS and cartographic tasks, including creating maps and mappable data from multiple sources
  • Interpreting data from multiple sources;
  • Developing programs and scripts for data transformation, integration, or reduction;
  • Enhancing previously developed in-house applications such as those for data coding;
  • Perform various types of analysis involving multiple data sets.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Geography, Sociology, Urban Studies, Statistics, or related social or environmental science-based field
  • 0-2 years’ experience in relevant quantitative or programming positions of increasing responsibility
  • Experience with ArcGIS or MapInfo Professional including data manipulation, geospatial data processing, and mapping
  • Skills in the use of computer software, especially packages for statistical analysis (SAS, R, or Python) and knowledge of computing platforms and data file construction
  • Exposure to demographic, Census and vital statistics data
  • Experience in geospatial data manipulation, processing, analysis, and mapping.
  • Skills in key geospatial techniques including data geocoding (and address matching), geospatial data manipulations, projections, and basic geospatial analyses
  • Knowledge of coordinate system and projections concepts
  • Experience in mapping and cartography to ensure geospatial results are portrayed accurately
  • Basic skills or experience manipulating data in MS Access, Excel spreadsheets and other data tools
  • General familiarity with social science research and policy issues
  • Must be detail and quality-oriented, with demonstrated written and oral communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal communication, writing, problem identification and resolution, and task management
  • Enthusiasm for teamwork and collaboration across disciplinary boundaries


  • Experience in survey methodology, including sample design, weighting, and related analyses
  • The ability to automate complex geospatial processing steps using Python or other scripting languages
  • Experience with interactive data visualization and mapping libraries such as R-Shiny and JavaScript Leaflet and D3
  • Experience programming in an object-oriented language such as Java or C++
  • Skills in importing and integrating data from a variety of non-spatial data formats (spreadsheets, lists, text files, and databases) into GIS format
  • Experience with national geospatial data such as TIGER, SF3, NLCD, and NHD
  • Knowledge of RDBMS concepts and basic skills with Structured Query Language (SQL)

NORC at the University of Chicago is an objective, non-partisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, our teams have conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with us to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.


For over 75 years, NORC has evolved in many ways, moving the needle with research methods, technical applications and groundbreaking research findings. But our tradition of excellence, passion for innovation, and commitment to collegiality have remained constant components of who we are as a brand, and who each of us is as a member of the NORC team. With world-class benefits, a business casual environment, and an emphasis on continuous learning, NORC is a place where people join for the stellar research and analysis work for which we’re known, and stay for the relationships they form with their colleagues who take pride in the impact their work is making on a global scale.


NORC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer that values and actively seeks diversity in the workforce. NORC evaluates qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other legally- protected characteristics.


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