Uses and development of geographic information system (GIS) technology in epidemiologic research

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contribution

Abstract

The use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology in environmental and population health research is increasing (1,2). The influence of different levels of environmental exposures, the nature of these exposures and individual-level socio-demographic, psychosocial and behavioural effects on public and population health outcomes are increasingly being studied using GIS (3-6). The aims of the MEGAPHONE® GIS (Montreal Epidemiological and Geographic Analysis of Population Health Outcomes and Neighbourhood Effects) (7), developed with the support of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, are to determine which environmental risk conditions are robustly related to health outcomes and to elucidate how these effects are expressed. The identification of environmental factors, both important and changeable, can provide an evidence base for policy interventions on services and resources needed for healthful living. Environmental intervention can enable healthful behaviour, e.g. provision of outlets for fresh fruit and vegetables or efficient public transportation can positively influence diet and active transport involving incidental physical activity. Other actions may include strategies to improve the quality of air and water or noise reduction. Environmental risk conditions function at the level of communities or populations. They are the conditions of living and health-related resources and opportunities available to a population. They can be specific to a geographical area (e.g. the availability, accessibility and affordability of healthful food for a given community) or they can exert broad effects at the macro-social level (e.g. institutionalized racism or restricted economic opportunity) (8). They are expressed as contextual measures of places (e.g. housing quality, social disorder or the availability and accessibility of goods and services) and as compositional measures of population attributes (e.g. aggregated educational attainment or income).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the South-East Asia Regional Conference on Epidemiology
Subtitle of host publicationNew Delhi, 8-10 March 2010
EditorsJP Narain
Place of PublicationNew Delhi
PublisherWorld Health Organization
Pages201-212
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9789290223924
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameWHO Regional Publications. South East Asia Series
PublisherWorld Health Organization: Regional Office for South-East Asia
ISSN (Electronic)0250-8362

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