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GIS for Health and the Environment - Book CoverIn the developing world, the health sector has only recently begun to use GIS. GIS for Health and the Environment collects and records some of the first attempts to identify and explore opportunities to apply GIS for health in developing countries.

Contents in more details: Proceedings of an International Workshop held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 5-10 September 1994. The research presented in this book demonstrates how GIS data is being used to show cause-effect relationships between environmental conditions and health. Case studies demonstrate how GIS can be used to monitor tropical diseases, water quality, environmental toxicology, and overall rural health. The book also demonstrates how GIS can provide health researchers, planners, program managers, and policymakers with novel information about the distribution and interaction of disease risk factors, patterns of morbidity and mortality, and the allocation of health resources.


The GIS Primer provides an overview of issues and requirements for implementing and applying geographic information systems technology.

It focuses on practical issues concerned with the responsible implementation and application of GIS technology. The primer is directed for those with limited exposure to GIS. It is intended purely as in introductory text with an emphasis on identifying and clearly illustrating fundamental concepts in GIS applications.


Software and Shapefiles

Supports ESRI® Shapefile and MapInfo® tables vector file formats. Standard GIS functions such as pan, zoom and identify. Thematic mapping using interval and value themes. Feature labeling using label themes. Printing and plotting layout designer. Powerful charting wizard. Map legend allowing full control over layer order and symbolization. Basic geometry and attribute editing capability (Requires the Basic Editor plug-in, also included). Attribute query builder. User defined map annotations, both text and shapes. Hyperlink other documents to map features. Powerful buffering tools. And much more...

Epi Info 2000 is a database and statistics program for public health professionals. Although it can be programmed to produce systems for repeated or permanent use, it can also be used interactively for rapid questionnaire design, data entry, and analysis during an investigation.

Epi Map, the mapping component of Epi Info, is built around MapObjects software from ESRI, the makers of ArcView and ARC/INFO, popular Geographic Information System (GIS) tools. Epi Map displays Shapefiles from these two systems, and thus can use the enormous reservoir of map boundaries and geographic data available on the Internet in ESRI-compatible formats.

Epi Map is designed to show data from Epi Info 2000 files by relating data fields to SHAPE files containing the geographic boundaries. Shapefiles also can contain data on population or other variables, and can therefore provide numeric data that become part of the display either as numerator or denominator. Numeric data can be displayed either as colour/pattern (choropleth) maps or as dot density maps with the dots randomly distributed within geographic regions (polygons).

Point locations can be plotted automatically from data files containing x and y coordinates in various symbols, colours, and sizes. Shapefiles can contain lines or points to represent streets or point locations, and points can be placed on top of the Shapefile layer to represent homes in which cases occurred or other geographic points of interest.

Most of the work in Epi Map is done from the Map Manager, which allows Layers to be constructed with Shapefiles and related data variables. Layers can be removed or moved to the front or rear of a series of layers. Many properties affecting colours, shapes, grouping of data, type of display, and other characteristics can be set in the Map Manager.
(Release Date of Cached Version: 5 December 2000; Status: Public Domain - Source: CDC, US)

BodyViewerGeoHealth, Inc. produces some very useful health extensions to ESRI's ArcView GIS. BodyViewer is a unique GIS product. It allows users to map any database that contains a geographic reference (e.g., postal codes, street addresses, census tract numbers) and an ICD-9 or ICD-10 code. BodyViewer displays the prevalence of disease types by "mapping" it to a picture of the human body and then displays the disease on a map.

BodyViewer CR (Cancer Registry) is designed to diagram, map and report ICD-O codes. Data is first "mapped" to a diagram of the human body so users can understand where and how prevalent cancer is from an anatomical view. Then users can visualise where the cancer is located geographically by clicking on any part of the anatomy. Also they can map individual codes or site groupings such as "Lip, Oral Cavity and Pharynx". For even more detail users can choose to map O-codes by their cell morphology. This is an indispensable tool to understand and communicate cancer data.

PatientAccess is another tool that measures geographic accessibility. It measures the distance between any two sets of locations. For instance, users could analyse the distance between patients and their doctors or managed care subscribers and their network providers or the distance between a population and a suspected environmental hazard. PatientAccess automatically generates a series of maps and reports to demonstrate accessibility. PatientAccess DriveTime performs all of the functions of PatientAccess and takes into account the actual road network patients must travel.
(Source: GeoHealth, Inc., US)

GIDEON - Global Infectious Disease & Epidemiology NetworkGIDEON is a medical decision support software package created and updated by C.Y Informatics, and used in over 45 countries around the world, including the US Navy. It combines the power of medical geography and epidemiology, with clinical management (i.e., diagnosis and treatment) of infectious diseases. Users start by selecting the symptoms and signs they want to diagnose. GIDEON then generates a set of suitable differential diagnoses and uses its Bayesian matrix to compute the probability of each diagnosis in this set, taking into consideration the country of disease acquisition. GIDEON also features a comprehensive database of microbiological tests, drug interactions, vaccinations and much more.. (Status: A very useful program but you need to order your copy from - Source: CY Informatics Ltd., Israel)

PopMapWith an emphasis on statistical database development for sub-national applications and program support, PopMap provides the basic elements to develop a simple, but useful geographical information system for thematic and interpretative analysis and presentation - as well as information and decision support system for population activities.

Combining graphics, spreadsheet interface and mapping capabilities with an integrated geographical database, PopMap provides maps and graphics database support for planning and administration of population activities with important geographical or logistical context, or for facilitating geographical or graphical expression of population indicators and related data.

MapScan is a program for vectorising maps in interactive or automatic mode. MapScan accepts various formats of scanned paper maps or drawings, reads and converts them into vector maps in formats that can be used by popular mapping systems. MapScan enables to move printed maps or drawings into a mapping system quickly and easily, compared to traditional digitising techniques.
(Status: The United Nations permits public use, including reproduction of the programs, documentation and sample applications, provided that copies are not sold for profit - Source: The United Nations Statistics Division and the United Nations Population Fund)

The advisor will ask you a series of questions about your data and the kind of clustering you wish to detect, then suggest an appropriate test. (Source: UMICH.EDU, US)

ClusterSeer offers data visualization tools and state-of-the-art statistical methods to explore spatial and temporal patterns of events. ClusterSeer methods can be used to investigate disease clusters in space, in time, and spatial clusters that depend on time (spatio-temporal interaction). (Project Leaders: Geoff Jacquez and Leah Estberg)

SatScanThe SaTScan software analyses spatial, temporal and space-time point data using the spatial, temporal, or space-time scan statistic. It is designed for any of the following interrelated purposes:

  • To evaluate reported spatial or space-time disease clusters, to see if they are statistically significant.

  • To test whether a disease is randomly distributed over space or over time or over space and time.

  • To perform geographical surveillance of disease, to detect areas of significantly high or low rates.

SaTScan uses either a Poisson based model, were the number of events in an area is Poisson distributed under the null hypothesis, or a Bernoulli model, with 0/1 event data such as cases and controls. The program adjusts for the underlying in homogeneity of a background population. With the Poisson model it can also adjust for any number of categorical covariates provided by the user.
(Status: Free - Source: Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, US)

The University of Iowa, Geography Department, developed DMAP, a Windows compatible program that produces disease rates using variable spatial filters and tests for their statistical significance using Monte Carlo simulations. DMAP project was to provide users with a fast, easy, and simple means of creating maps of disease rates and statistical significance.
(Status: Free - Source and Online Demo: University of Iowa Department of Geography, US)

Screenshot of ArcExplorerArcExplorer is a lightweight GIS data viewer developed by ESRI. This freely available software offers an easy way to perform basic GIS functions. ArcExplorer is used for a variety of display, query, and data retrieval applications and supports a wide variety of standard data sources. It can be used on its own with local data sets or as a client to Internet data and map servers.

Among its many uses, ArcExplorer is an excellent vehicle for publishing your data. You can freely distribute the ArcExplorer setup and your data on CDs; ESRI does not charge any fees if you do so.

MapObjectsMapObjects allows developers to add dynamic mapping and GIS capabilities to their existing Windows applications or build your own custom mapping and GIS solutions. Developing applications with MapObjects is easy and fast. MapObjects is an ActiveX control (OCX) with more than 45 programmable ActiveX Automation objects that can be plugged in to many standard Windows development environments such as Visual Basic®, Visual C++, Delphi®, PowerBuilder®, and others.
(Status: 90-Day Evaluation Copy - Source: ESRI, US)

GeoBrowser GeoBrowser is an inexpensive, out of the box solution that was built using ESRI MapObjects technology. It targets non-GIS persons, helping them access the wealth of information that resides in a typical GIS database and providing them with some useful tools such as query, address match, measure, map creation, property search, and much more. Users will be amazed at the ease with which they can take advantage of such tools. GeoBrowser does not require programming to customise and can be configured to work with any GIS database (Status: 30-Day Evaluation Copy - Source: Ollerton and Associates, US)

Software for geospatial data analysis that ships with excellent Getting Started Booklets. The TNT products support fully integrated GIS, image processing, CAD, TIN, desktop cartography, surface modelling and geospatial database management. With TNT, you can edit, display, and present project materials in raster, vector, CAD, and TIN formats. Geospatial analysis is a growing, complex science and this free version can help you learn the basics. The free TNTlite product has all the features of the professional version, except TNTlite limits the size of Project File objects, and export processes are disabled.
(Status: Free - Source:, US; also available for Mac and Unix)

MapSheets ExpressMapSheets Express is a free viewing and mapping tool from ERDAS, for working with imagery and vector map data. (Status: Free - Source: ERDAS, Inc., US)

Geographic Explorer from Blue Marble GeographicsThe Geographic Explorer extends the Windows 95, 98, 2000 and NT Explorer to view and find map files. The Geographic Explorer provides a number of powerful utilities. You can explore map files directly on your desktop with the Geographic Explorer! (Status: Free - Source: Blue Marble Geographics, US)

Run GPSS and it will give you an impressive in-car demonstration and will even speak to you; plug in a GPS Receiver (if you have one) and the software will work "for real"!



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