Health Applications of GIS

Submissions (or a URL) should be emailed by midnight of the Thursday before class to LDECOLA@COMCAST.NET (not to UMBC).

Please conform to the following file naming rule as it makes it easy to keep track of your work. Submission files are to be named as follows:
  flname_n.ext, where
  f = your first initial
  lname = your last name
  n = assignment number, and
  .ext is the file extension (e.g., etc). 
You are welcome to create an HTML document and post in on the web, sending me the URL.

All submissions must show a title, your name, class name, and date.

Any item you copy or refer to must be cited correctly; use the examples in the syllabus, but see a style guide for details. Be sure to include the correct URL and exact references for any data you use.

I rarely print documents and generally view MSWord documents in 'web layout' mode, so don't spend much time trying to format them. The font should be readable at normal size.

Graphics should fill about 2/3 of the width of the screen; anything smaller is too small, anything larger is likely to bleed off the screen in some circumstances.

If you submit a spreadsheet, the worksheets and columns should be labeled meaningfully. Submit the data as well if possible so I can experiment with them. Occasionally I receive ArcMap exhibits in the form of .mxd files. Without the associated data these are not useful; and including the data often results in an unwieldy package. I therefore recommend exporting any map to a graphics file (.gif, .jpg, etc.) in order to share your work.

Useful information

  1. A report writing guide from my website; please read and refer to this when writing!

  2. My document on useful GIS information for helpful hints.

Assignment #1: instructions are found from the syllabus page.

Assignment #2: North Derbyshire asthma analysis

This assignment builds on analysis done in the session #3 lab on point pattern analysis. The geographic questions concern the clustering of the cases v. the controls, and the association of spatial patterns with the 3 possible sources.

Write up the results of the analysis below in about 3 'pages' including several appropriate graphics. PLEASE DISCUSS ANY PROBLEMS YOU HAVE ON THE BLACKBOARD FORUM.

1. Description and relative risk

Download the North Derbyshire data from the ASDAR website, unzip it, and open it in ArcMap.
Present a map of the data (point data, study area) with appropriate cartographic information.
Describe the asthma point data in terms of cases/controls versus at least one other variable in the attribute table.

2. Point pattern analysis

Compare the case and control densities with respect both to the extent of the data as well to the study area.
Describe the point pattern(s) visually.
Use the tools in ArcMap to describe the kernel density surface. Discuss clustering of the points and of the 2 kinds of points (cases and controls).
Use a distance tool (nearest neighbor, Ripley's K, etc.) to explore clustering.

3. Distance analysis

Use buffers of appropriate sizes to compare the numbers of cases and controls around the 3 'sources' and draw a conclusion.
Present a brief summary of your research.

Final project

Develop an original project based on your professional or course work or some other interest. You're urged to share your ideas with me and others as you work on the project. Submit it by the usual deadline and be prepared to present it at our last meeting.

Ideas for projects

It's always interesting to look deeper into data you're already familiar with from prior work; browse your computer and old reports and see what you can come up with. Work from concurrent classes is also acceptable provided you check with me first.

Do some searching using keywords of interest plus DATA, DATASET, DOWNLOAD, SPREADSHEET, etc...

GIS analysis tends to ignore the non-spatial richness within the attribute table; it's often revealing to open up the .dbf file in excel, R, etc...

2N eyes are better than 2, so please share ideas you find.

Data resources

  1. World Health Organization, especially Immunization surveillance, assessment and monitoring database.

  2. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Select a topic of interest, then go to the 'A-Z Index' and look for links to data, statistics, surveillance, etc

  3. National Cancer Institute, e.g. Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) for state data

  4. Stanford University Libraries list of Websites for GIS Health Data

  5. Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce lists of Health Data Tools and Statistics

  6. U.S. Census Bureau Statistical Abstract has a number of health tables and provides Excel output.