GIS Techniques to Track Soldier Health

The U.S. Army Public Health Command’s G-6 Directorate of Information Management/Information Technology has a small team of geographers who use maps to tell detailed stories. By taking data with spatial components and applying geographic information systems techniques- relationships, patterns, and trends can become revealed in a variety of visual formats.

Shannon Lowe, one of the three geographers with the GIS team said, “A geographic information system is a technique that integrates hardware, software and data to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present all types of geographically referenced data” (Hawaii Army Weekly).

During the first Gulf War, GIS technology was used to capture, manage, analyze, model and display data that tracked smoke and particulates from the Kuwait oil well fires. This information was linked to the locations and movements of Soldiers and units to determine exposures and possible health risks.

Tracking smoke particulates from fires and linking this information to the health and geographic locations of soldiers is just one way that GIS technology has been used to understand health in relationship to environmental exposures. The advancements of GIS over the years has enhanced the capabilities of its applications and arenas in which is can be used. All in all, GIS has provided individuals with invaluable tools for looking at data, interpreting it, and finding accurate answers to questions that were more difficult to answer prior.

Read the original article published by Hawaii Army Weekly.

Lisa MacCarrigan, Research Assistant, Vertices,