An initiative in 2012-2013 Northeastern Illinois University is establishing a Geographic Information System to help departments and offices in recruiting, retaining, graduating, and tracking alumni. Data may be disaggregated by major, by gender, age, ethnicity, high school of graduation, etc. as well as by distance from campus, travel times, and other spatial attributes. GIS combines maps from many sources -- enrollment services, institutional research, human resources, alumni affairs, census bureau, City of Chicago, US Geological Survey, and more. The location of objects become the relational link, so attributes may be passed freely from one layer to another. To the right is a flowchart describing the plan for development and for ongoing implementation. What follows is a sample of maps and reports.

Draft site: Jan. 1 2012.


Students and Alumni

ABOVE: This basic map shows the distribution of students in 2011 and alumni, in the Chicago metropolitan area. The star is the NEIU main campus.

RIGHT: Students enrolled in 2011 whose country of citizenship is not the United States.

ABOVE: 60,135 alumni in the U.S. were geocoded to street address. The data are navigable in Google Earth with a file you may download by clicking HERE .
(If the file extension is not .kmz, rename it to alumni.kmz before opening).

BELOW LEFT: concept map, Alumni for one academic department, with year of graduation, with inset.

Alumni by ethnicity
High Schools of Origin

ABOVE: Alumni broken down by ethnicity.

LEFT: Enrollment Services had a use for a map of high schools of origin, for our Fall 2011 Freshman Class.

BELOW LEFT: Swamp White Oaks in the areas east of the P.E. Building are highlighed, by request of Facilities Management.

BELOW: People attending the Jewel Box Series performances are mapped, as part of their effort to increase attendance and visibility.

LEFT: This is a concept map, showing how regional centers for peer study might be identified for all students. Students are color coded to the nearest library to their home, and number of students assigned to each library is shown. The name and address of the nearest library is assigned to each student.

The purpose is to show how scattered sites may be used for peer group work. CLICK HERE for a similar concept map for selected Starbucks, or CLICK HERE for the full report.

Public Transportation
The map to the left shows how students can get to campus by bus, el, train, and bicycle. The orange bus lines include only those with 0 or 1 transfer to campus. Click to see the entire map

RIGHT: This map shows students who enrolled as new freshmen in 2009 and were not enrolled in 2010 and or fall of 2011. The hypothesis was that longer distances traveled represent additional cost and will be negatively related to retention. The hypothesis received some support. Click on the map to see the full story.

BELOW: Out of curiosity we averaged the latitude and longitude of students living within 50 miles of campus and mapped the averages for each year. In 2009-2011 the center of gravity for NEIU students shifted to the southeast, remaining approximately 6 miles from main campus, which is depicted as a small star near the top of the map.

Centroid Shift
LEFT: In an effort to assess the utility of rideshare software for NEIU students we established 0.5 and 1 mile buffer zones around each of 11,000 students from Fall 2012 enrollments and then counted the numbers of other students within that zone. The average NEIU student is within a half mile of 34 other students, and within a mile of 119. Areas beyond 50 miles and closer than 3 miles were not included in these averages. CLICK HERE to see the full report.
vegetation on campus
LEFT: Trees and shrubs -- Campus woody vegetation (trees and shrubs) were tagged in a joint project with Facilities Management and the department of Geography & Environmental Studies in 1997, and updated thereafter. THIS INTERACTIVE SITE allows the viewer to zoom in. Dowload THIS FILE, rename the extension to .kmz if you must, and open it within Google Earth. You will see campus vegetation in Google Earth. If you have Google Earth installed, simply double click the .kmz file.
BBH_Room Usage
Room usage for Bernard Brommell Hall was requested by the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, after a walk-through by department chairs in the Spring of 2012.. THIS INTERACTIVE SITE shows the rooms for each floor with department, usage, and occupant.

ABOVE: This is a 3D model of campus created in 2007 and 2008, out of curiosity, with Sketchup. The program exports to video, as in THIS YOUTUBE project created by request, for an on-campus event. It renders with good detail in Sketchup and exports to video. It also exports crudely to a .kmz file (above), visible within Google Earth. .

The map to the left shows how the number of students (not displayed) may be counted relative to a polygon: in this case, a map combining Chicago Community Areas and suburbs. In addition to the counts, any data for student may be summed or averaged in the community area table, and data for the relevant community area may likewise be moved to the student layer.

ARTS & SCIENCES Graduate Students.....BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT Graduate Students..... EDUCATION Graduate Students

The series above shows graduate students for Fall 2012, broken down by college or status.

To the left is a map of the United States with nearly 60,000 alumni shown as red dots. Numbers of alumni were counted for each urban cluster and illustrated with a proportional circle; the circle area represents the proportion of alumni; you will see that the Chicago area, with 48,000 alumni, contains most. Those in the Chicago area are disaggregated by major, in the inset.
The map to the right shows the same information, with alumni tallied by state and the proportion for each state is calculated.
This is a pilot study of a method of disaggregating alumni by demographic characteristics of the census tracts they live in. To the left is a map of 2010 of per capita incomes in the six county region, only for higher income tracts -- and NEIU alumni. By extracting alumni who live in these tracts, Institutional Advancement may be able to more easily contact perhaps some of the most financially successful alumni. The tract-level analysis is being conducted for alumni in all U.S. states.
To the left is a small portion of a larger map you will see if you select it. It was created by a contact in Switzerland, who wrote a code using Google Maps API to create a color-coded semitransparent set of isochrones -- time travel maps using the road networks at low-traffic times. The area shown on the larger map encompasses 93% of students who had enrolled Fall 2012. Isochrones are the equivalent of contour intervals, but with drive times instead of elevation. Mr. Emonet may also be able to provide a similar map for travel by public transportation, as well as maps for El Centro and the Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies.
Small map for a Cultural Events brochure
To the right is a population pyramid of NEIU's student body in 2012. On the vertical scale is age, with males to the left and females extending to the right. The first sizable bars on the bottom is 18 years old.
These are employees of NEIU, including graduate student workers and temporary workers. They are all coded by category (shown here in different colors). Because the ID is known anyh new information may be added to the point by Institutional Research.
An unexpected finding was that students graduating from NEIU in Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 lived farther away than the general student body. Mean distance for the 1,835 students graduating fall or spring was 8.3 miles, where the the fall 2012 students not graduating that fall or spring averaged 7.3 miles from campus. Median distances (distance of the middle member when sorted by distance, the standard "common person" measure -- was 5.1 for graduates and 4.7 miles for the rest. This indicates that distance may not be such an impediment for matriculation, in fact more distant students may be more perseverent in their final year. Interesting!
The following layers have been mapped. Check back for updates.
Fall enrollment Students
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Each year has approximately 11,000 students.
Attribute date include major, age, ethnicity, hours cumulated, year-status, and more.
Source: Institutional Research

Alumni from 2012
Data: Major, college, year graduated, and more
Source: Alumni Affairs
High Schools Chicago PS

Source: City of Chicago
Data created: number of students sent to NEIU, by year

City of Chicago
Source: City of Chicago
Community Areas & Suburbs
Source: Census Bureau. Community area data by tract merged to community area, joined to suburb database. Data for 2000: Education, income, home ownership, value of home, poverty, and more -- disaggregated by race/ethnicity.
Cook, Lake, McHenry, Dupage, Will, Kane Counties
Source: Census Bureau
CTA tracks and stops
Bus routes and stops
Source: City of Chicago
Painted Bicycle Routes
Source: City of Chicago
Metra rail
Source: Census Bureau
Source: Census Bureau
Source: Census Bureau
Campus Buildings
Main Campus
Source: digitized
Parking Lots, sidewalks, access road
Main Campus
Source: digitized
Room Usage
Bernard Brommel Hall
Data include occupant, department, room number, size. Source: digitized, walk-through inventory
Trees and Shrubs
Source: digitized. Data include species, species group, height, girth.
3D Model of Campus
All buildings on the Main Campus, trees and shrubs, more.
Source: manual construction using Sketchup, cad files
We encourage your participation in this ongoing project by providing data or suggestions or requesting specific maps and reports. After the initial start-up year, the project will likely be housed and managed by Institutional Research with the assistance of graduate and undergraduate students in Geography & Environmental Studies who are skilled in GIS. For more information, suggestions, requests, or consultation contact 2012-13 Special Assistant to the President, Erick Howenstine (773) 442-5411 or email him at