GIS and Spatial Health

Percent Change in Emergency Department Usage by Zip Code, Wake County Community Health Needs Assessment, North Carolina, 2007-2011

Percent Change in Emergency Department Usage by Zip Code, Wake County Community Health Needs Assessment, North Carolina, 2007-2011

A geographic information system (GIS) can capture, store, analyze, and manage data linked to geographic locations. Creating maps is the most basic GIS function, and drawing inferences from these visualizations is a much more powerful application of GIS. As a decision-making tool, GIS can be used to visualize and better understand relationships, patterns, and trends of illness and health care resources. Many GIS applications are available publicly, but creating meaningful visualizations and accurate interpretations can be a difficult task,

NCIPH is dedicated to assisting state and local public health agencies, hospitals, and other agencies with using GIS for spatial analysis and data collection. NCIPH provides training and technical assistance for:

  • Time and space trends in population health
  • Disease mapping and cluster analysis
  • Technical assistance for surveys, pre-/post- disaster assessments, and community health needs assessments
  • Training in community survey techniques
  • Use of mobile technology to assist with field data collection (mobile-GIS, GPS and Epi Info for Android)

NCIPH recently partnered with Carolinas HealthCare System to develop an online interactive map to assess 12 Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) indicators at the neighborhood-level within their 10-county service region. Using the 12 indicators, NCIPH created a SDOH index that identifies the neighborhoods with the highest disparities. This interactive map created by NCIPH is a guided approach to synthesizing SDOH data that can be used to more effectively focus interventions and outreach in areas of need.


Our experience

Since 2009, NCIPH has provided GIS training and technical assistance for 31 projects in North Carolina, Georgia, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Examples of projects:

Does your organization need help leveraging GIS?

NCIPH can provide training and support for agencies seeking help with GIS as a data collection and decision-making tool.

Contact: Matt Simon at mattsimon@unc.edu

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