Discover Your Island

Christopher Clary

Outstanding Islanders

Photo of Christopher Clary

Using GIS to Assist Forgotten Communities

Christopher Clary is using the latest geographic information technology to help revolutionize the healthcare system and influence where facilities are built in large cities. Clary, who recently received his Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Science (GIS) from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, was one of the few undergraduate students to present research at the 2014 Association for Computing Machinery SIGSPATIAL International conference in Dallas, Texas.

“The most fulfilling part of my student career was being able to share my work with professionals and upper-level students at the conference,” said Clary. “When I started the project, I had no idea that it would go as far as it did.”

Clary realized that there was a lack of research in the public healthcare industry, especially pertaining to the locations of substance abuse treatment centers. With his research, he was able to identify low-income and minority-housing areas in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and map how close they were to treatment centers.

“GIS can be used to solve a large number of problems,” said Clary. “In the case of my research, I wanted to understand the service coverage among often forgotten communities.”

Clary’s findings indicated that low-income and minorities were at a disadvantage due to limited access to substance abuse treatment facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Clary believes that his results can help cities plan the locations of future treatment centers to help provide everyone access to such important facilities.

“We are in the middle of a digital data revolution and GIS analysis plays an extremely important role in many areas of our lives,” said Clary. “It can help in the health sector, improve disaster response, help with law enforcement, and improve our understanding of the environment around us.”

Clary is currently working for the City of Corpus Christi Utilities Department as a GIS/GPS Technician. He graduated Magna Cum Laude and served as the Vice President of the Geographic Information Science Student Organization on campus. He attributes his success to Dr. Lucy Huang, Associate Professor of Geographic Information Science, and Dr. Richard Smith, Assistant Professor of GISc and GSEN, who encouraged him to put forth his best effort.