Geographical information system
Advantages and disadvantages of using the Geographic Information Systems (GIS
Geographic Information Systems (GIS ) is a computerized , integrated system used to compile , store , manipulate , and output mapped spatial data . Like any systems GIS has its own advantages , disadvantages and interdependencies which can be better understood while studying Public Health
GIS technology improves the ability of practitioners , planners , and researchers to organize and link datasets (for example , by using geocoded addresses or geographic boundaries . Geography provides a near-universal link for sorting and integrating records from multiple information sources into a more [banner_entry_middle]
coherent whole . This ability to link datasets can help public health practitioners plan more cost-effective interventions . For example , suppose that a childhood lead poisoning prevention program could access residential databases maintained by the tax assessor ‘s office and map the street addresses of houses built before 1950 (when lead-based paint was commonly used . Suppose that the prevention program could also access hospital and managed care plan electronic databases to identify street addresses for new births Combining these datasets , the program could apply GIS technology to identify infants at high risk for exposure to lead-based paint and send a public health worker to follow up with specific households . By matching the addresses of these infants to a street map (from a “topologically integrated geographic encoding and referencing ” [TIGER] , using the “address-match ” and “route-scheduling ” functions of GIS software , the health worker can implement an efficient schedule of household visitations . As new GIS methods are developed , they can be added to the “toolkits ” of epidemiology and health services research For example , spatial scan statistic described by Kulldorff (1999 ) could be used to evaluate if a cluster is present using Monte Carlo simulations . GIS also could be used to link data for an individual with contextual information aggregated at a variety of geographic levels (for example , Census block group , Census tract or county (Rushton , 1997 Compared with tables and charts , maps developed using GIS technology can be an extremely effective tool to help community decision makers visualize and understand a public health problem (Exeter , 1998 . The GIS can be continually updated and modified as the plan is implemented allowing continually feedback
It has its cons too . For example , Current , accurate , low-cost base street maps are essential for epidemiologic uses which is time consuming and steep learning curve for novice users of GIS software . Another perceived disadvantage , generally amongst many planners , is that the traditionally lower positional-accuracy of imagery , tax-assessor parcels , and other GIS layers , may lead to costly mistakes when practitioners interpret a GIS map , or engineer ‘s design around GIS street addresses . GIS technology is currently not linked with community planning tools such as NACCHO ‘s Assessment and Planning Excellence through Community Partners for Health , and specialized GIS software products , including data entry forms and automated procedures . It would help public health practitioners ‘ map and plan interventions at the community level (Dean , 1999
Kulldorff M . Geographic information systems (GIS ) and community health some statistical issues . Journal of Public Health Management Practice… [banner_entry_footer]
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