The University of New Mexico (UNM) Geospatial and Population Studies (GPS) has its roots in UNM’s political science department. In 1946, the department formed the Division of Government Research (DGR), which performed research related to governmental issues particular to New Mexico. Traffic safety became a focus of DGR in 1975, when the division began conducting traffic crash data analysis for the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT). Geospatial and Population Studies was established in 2012, from two components: the Division of Government Research, which was renamed the Traffic Research Unit (TRU); and the Population Research Unit (PRU), which had been part of UNM’s Bureau of Business and Economic
TRU also expanded its work in 2012, when it was awarded the NMDOT contract to build a new, comprehensive traffic crash data entry system. PRU functions as the New Mexico state demographer’s office, which publishes annual population estimates and tri-annual population projections, while working closely with the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure accurate demographic statistics related to New Mexico. GPS also works on international research and training initiatives, in countries such as Kenya and Ecuador.
GPS is well versed in the following areas:
1. Statistical data analysis, data integration, and data ETL (extraction, transformation and loading) using SAS, R, SPSS and other statistical software.
2. Combination of GIS (geographic information systems) with statistical programming to analyze data and create maps for spatial data analysis.
3. Improvement of data quality with the ability to profile, cleanse and match data during the ETL process GPS’s diverse expertise in analysis and geospatial data helps officials and the public make data-driven decisions and policies.
The Geospatial and Population Studies supplies trustworthy information that serves communities and government agencies; offers cutting-edge technology and research methods; and provides a fertile training ground at UNM for a new generation of applied researchers and decision makers.
The Geospatial and Population Studies improves people’s lives by performing research and evaluation to provide accurate and actionable information for data-driven decisions and policies.