Researchers report on the use of GIS as public health research tool
My sister is a public health professional so I hear from her frequently about how they integrate GIS into their work. GIS can revolutionize virtually any business, but GIS really shines when it is helping people. You can take massive amounts of data and distribute it to a large audience. This is especially true for rural areas. Normally these areas might not have the population or money to support a 'normal' study, but with the proper data inputs a GIS team located anywhere else on the planet can provide life changing information to the public in the study area. These studies can range from the more active analyses like interpolation of disease outbreaks to passive analyses like locating appropriate clean drinking water sources.
In this article we see the response of researchers from three different studies. In rural Alaska the researchers were able to study food distribution patterns. In rural Nepal the researchers were able to look at patterns of access of health care. Finally, in Fort Worth, Texas the researchers noted a relationship between racial diversity in a neighborhood and built environment.
All three of the responses we should see that there is a community that can benefit from a revised public health model design to address the social issues that are hurting the public. In the Fort Worth response the researchers mention, and rightfully so, that on the ground components are still necessary. When I am talking with coworkers, family, or friends I am often asked, or told, that a purely office study cannot capture the 'real world.' Despite the number of times I shrug it off and insist that office are the way to go, I certainly think that on the ground research still plays an important part because it allows the researchers to see effects from social issue
I am a GIS professional in Walla Walla, WA. I use this blog to force myself to really read through all of the GIS news that I get in my inbox. It also helps me practice writing.