Lexington, KY to Use GIS to Improve City Water Quality Management

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG)  of Kentucky has selected to use Accela Automation, a web-based software, to help improve the city’s water quality management and to facilitate compliance with U.S. environmental regulations, including the EPA and the Clean Water Act (Earth Times). The idea is to use the software to “manage all activity relating to the inventory, inspection, repair and maintenance of sanitary and stormwater sewer systems, and to consolidate information that currently tracks 16,500 of records annually across twenty-two databases” (Accela Inc.).  One advantage is that there will be more efficient monitoring and reporting. The following will become accomplished more effectively:

  • “review, approve and track construction projects
  • receive, investigate and prioritize requests for service
  • generate and assign work orders and reports, and automate work scheduling
  • build an easily accessible asset library and maintenance history
  • regulate discharge of materials into water assets in order to prevent storm water pollution” (Earth Times)

Shown above is an image of an existing interactive map of Lexington-Fayette County, Kentucky. “Accela GIS will help field-based inspection and maintenance teams more easily and consistently track the location and status of sanitary sewer and storm water data, further boosting preventative maintenance of critical water-quality assets.” (Accela Inc.)  To read the full article click here. To learn more about Accela GIS click here.

Sources: Earth Times, Accela Inc. http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/lexington-fayette-to-augment-water-quality-management-with-accela-software,1259300.shtml

Picture taken from: http://gisweb1.lfucg.com/maps/mia/viewer.htm

Christine Irven, VERTICES intern

National AIDS Program and the Virtual Leadership Development Program

“The National AIDS Program in the Ministry of Health and Social Development has partnered with managers in the public and private health sectors to participate as a team in the Virtual Leadership Development Program (VLDP) conducted by Management Sciences for Health based in Cambridge Massachusetts and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States HIV AIDS Project Unit. The goal of the program is to increase the capacity of the local healthcare systems for the development of managers that will lead with  a vision of a better future. The program, which began in early March will continue through June 11th of this year. An eleven member multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers representing the National AIDS Program, the HIV-AIDS Foundation, laboratory, pharmaceutical, management, medical specialties, and nursing services are participatins in the intiative with their regional counterparts. The teams are required to identify challenges they face on a daily basis that are preventing them from achieving results. This allows them to immediately apply the leadership and management practices they are learning in the VLDP workshops to their current work situations. It has been said that the forum has allowed for stronger collaboration between local stakeholders and regional management teams, which ultimately allows for a more effective integration of the HIV services into the primary care setting as well as implementation of our National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS and STIs.”

Sources/ information taken directly from: BVI News online http://bvinews.com/?p=2101

Christine Irven, VERTICES intern

GIS at CDC: Heart Disease and Stroke Maps

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a new application available that maps heart disease and stroke mortality data. The data has been presented by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Using this interactive mapping application, users can create and display maps at the national, state, or county level. The information is broken out by geography, gender and ethnicity and the data represents heart disease and stroke mortality and hospitalization rates. One example is shown below: New Jersey stroke mortality rates for both genders and all races, ages 35+. To view the application, click here.

Source: CDC, http://www.cdc.gov/gis/

Christine Irven, VERTICES intern

“Virtual USA Emergency Initiative”

Virtual USA is an initiative, supported by ESRI and headed by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, designed to improve decision making for all levels of homeland security practitioners. The system integrates existing resources to provide real time access to operational information from a variety of sources. This information can be fully integrated, analyzed, mapped, and disseminated for inter-agency situational awareness. Data includes: weather, traffic, infrastructure, fuel supplies, emergency shelters and medical facilities information. The idea is to promote interoperability between jurisdictions, data sharing, and inter-agency collaboration so that emergency response teams and organizations can have better preparedness, response, and coordination. So far eight states, Alabama, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana, have utilized this system and more states are to join in the future. To read the full article and see Virginia’s success in their utilization of Virtual USA click here.

Sources: ArcNews Online, ESRI http://www.esri.com/news/arcnews/spring10articles/virtual-usa.html

Christine Irven, VERTICES intern

“Hiking for Health & History”

Middleton Massachusetts’  public health director and former conservation agent Pike Messenger have created a created a booklet, “Hiking for Health & History” for the Health and Conservation Department. This book was created with assistance from a GIS professional in order to create the trail maps based off of GPS coordinates. It contains a historical and cultural component in addition to raising awareness of obesity. The idea was to have the book’s release kick off the beginning of spring and ‘the health department’s campaign to increase physical activity in the community” (Rosen) The booklet is said to be “Not just a trail booklet but a public health awareness booklet.” (Rosen) Some of the more specific information includes: ways of encouraging people to exercise outdoors while learning about health benefits; obesity; diabetes; cultural as well as natural history; West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis; and tick-borne dieseases.

Booklet Available at: http://www.townofmiddleton.org/Pages/MiddletonMA_Health/Booklet/

Source: Sylvia Rosen, Coorespondent The Salem News online http://www.salemnews.com/punews/local_story_088000727.html#disqus_thread

Picture taken from: http://www.townofmiddleton.org/Pages/MiddletonMA_Health/Booklet/

Christine Irven, VERTICES intern

World Health Organization’s ‘HealthMapper’

The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a surveillance and mapping application called ‘The HealthMapper’. This application is designed to address critical surveillance information needs across infectious disease programs at national and global levels and it is customized specifically for public health users. “The system facilitates data standardization, collection and updating of data on epidemiology and on interventions and provides immediate visualization of data in the form of maps, tables and charts” (WHO).  In addition, ‘The HealthMapper’ provides a database of geographic, demographic and health information. Of this information, the location of communities, health care and education facilities, accessibility by road, access to safe water and demography are included.  Some of the infectious disease programs using the system include: Roll Back Malaria, Lymphatic filariasis Elimination, Buruli Ulcer, Guinea worm Eradication, Onchocerciasis  Control Program, and Polio Eradication. “In 2003, the system supported the implementation surveillance of HIV/AIDS/STIs, Tuberculosis, Control of Communicable Diseases in Complex Emergency Situations, Outbreak Alert and Response and Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses” (WHO). See the article and website in order to download the program.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO) http://www.who.int/health_mapping/tools/healthmapper/en/index.html

Christine Irven, VERTICES intern

HealthMap’s Global Disease Alert Map

HealthMap has created an interactive global disease alert map! This site maps recent food and health risks, hazardous recalls and warnings, international significance, new and ongoing outbreaks, diseases and more using icons that link to online articles and other various sources. You can zoom into any part of the world or to a particular country in the following regions: North America, Europe, Africa, East Asia, Oceania, Central Asia, South America, Middle East, or Central America/ Caribbean.  It also includes translations into seven different languages. Users are able to update by posting an article, providing an eyewitness report, leaving a voice or text message on the HealthMap Hotline, email information or update via their smartphone. Check out the interactive site by clicking here.

Source: HealthMap http://www.healthmap.org/en

Christine Irven, VERTICES intern

England Provides An Interactive Web-Based National Cancer e-Atlas

England has provided its citizens with a new interactive web-based application, Cancer e-Atlas, to help improve access to cancer statistics across the nation. The goal is to “provide the public, health care professionals, commissioners and health service managers with basic information on incidence and mortality for the main types of cancers in men and women.” (NCIN) Data has been collected from English cancer registries as well as the Office for National Statistics.

Shown below are images of the two types of interactive maps that have been developed to display both incidence and mortality cancer statistics: Local Authorities  View (left) and Cancer Networks View (right). “Survival statistics are also shown but at Cancer Network level only. This is because any observed variations in survival rates across Local Authority areas are more likely to be caused by the natural variations that occur when dealing with smaller numbers of patients rather than showing real differences.” Simply click on either image to view the interactive mapping site.

The NCIN provides hints and tips on how to use the e-Atlas:

  • “The ‘data’ button allows you to choose the cancer site, gender and cancer statistic you are interested (e.g. mortality in cancer of the lung in males).
  • The ‘filter’ button allows you to narrow down the data shown into smaller areas, for example by each region, cancer network or comparing health inequality ‘Spearhead’ areas.
  • You can hover and click over any area on the map to highlight a particular Local Authority area e.g. Leeds. This can be repeated any number of times for separate areas.
  • You can also click on any regional or network name in the ‘Comparison Areas’ to show how the local areas highlighted compare to regional and network averages.
  • The ‘double map’ button feature allows you to look at two different cancer types at once or comparing incidence of a specific cancer site against its mortality rate.
  • There is a ‘help’ button in Cancer e-Atlas with more details on how to use it.
  • To help provide extra context and interpretation / background to the statistics you’ve chosen on Cancer e-Atlas, there is a link to relevant sections on the Cancer Research UK’s CancerStats website. To get to this, go to the Data button on the E-Atlas page and click on the small ‘paper’ icons (next to the arrows in the expanded drop down menus).
  • We hope you find this information useful. We welcome your feedback.” (NCIN)

Source: Information taken from NCIN (National Cancer Intelligence Network) http://www.ncin.org.uk/analysis/eatlas.shtml

Christine Irven, VERTICES intern

EAD Wins Award for Excellence in GIS Implementation

This year at the 2010 the regional GIS Workshop & Exhibition (GISWORX), EAD, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, won the Excellence in GIS Implementation award. Dr. Mahmoud Abdelfattah, soil scientist, and Mr. Anil Kumar, database specialist, received the award on behalf of EAD. The award was given for their development of the spatially enabled web-based application Abu Dhabi Soil Information System (ADSIS): EAD showed excellence in the innovation and experimentation in the implementation of GIS. The application allows users have easy access to soil-related information and analyze soil data based on location or other criteria to generate maps and reports. The goal was to provide decision makers with better data. Some of the things that arose from the project include an evaluation of  land suitable for irrigated agriculture, as well as  the creation of thematic maps to identify the suitability of soils for agriculture, rangeland, forestry, landfill, etc. Overall, this governmental agency is devoted to “protecting and managing biodiversity, providing a clean environment, and promoting sustainable development.”

Source: Information taken from abudhabicityguide, http://www.abudhabicityguide.com/news/news-details.asp?newsid=4335&newstype=Local%20News

Picture above taken from: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Abu%20Dhabi%20Soil%20Information%20System%20%28ADSIS%29&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rlz=1R1WZPB_en___US363&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wl

Picture below taken from: http://topnews.ae/images/Environment-Agency-Abu%20Dhabi.jpg

Christine Irven, VERTICES intern

Health Affairs Explores Strategies For Combating Child Obesity Epidemic

(Picture taken from: http://www.childrenshealthnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/obesity-epidemic2004.jpg)

“Health Affairs, the leading peer-reviewed journal of health policy thought and research founded under Project Hope (nonprofit international health education organization), explores health policy issues of current concern.” (Health Affairs) In this case, Health Affairs is looking for strategies to deal with the epidemic of childhood obesity. Children are becoming obese, even as young as 4 years old, and are subjected to diabetes and heart problems because of their weight. With a continually increasing rate, child obesity is even more common among minorities. Some factors to this epidemic include, improper daily calorie intake, and the marketing of “calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods and beverages aimed at children.” (Health Affairs)

In order to combat this problem Health Affairs believes that promoting healthier school meals and eliminating the sale of junk food in schools will help to make a difference. In addition, the use of GIS mapping has allowed for efficient data visualization and examination. Data collected by the CDC portrayed in the GIS mapping has helped reveal the extent of the problem (at both the national and state level). In one example in Texas, two neighborhoods outside downtown Austin were identified using GIS to have high obesity rates. “Armed with this information, community groups were able to design obesity interventions tailored to each neighborhood.” (Health Affairs)

Sources: Health Affairs

http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2010/03/02/child-obesity-health-affairs-explores-strategies-for-combating-epidemic/

http://www.healthaffairs.org/1500_about_journal.php

Christine Irven, VERTICES intern