Surveillance of Hepatitis A Outbreaks: State-by-State Counts from 2017-2018

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In the midst of newsworthy Hepatitis A outbreaks in Kentucky, San Diego, and Michigan, this map depicts the number of Hepatitis A incidents across the United States from 2017-2018. The number fluctuations in each state over the last year is alarming considering that there are few national regulations being put into place in the realm of food safety. Catherine Huddle from Food Safety News explains that although the CDC recommends that all children should be vaccinated at the ages of 1 and 2, ” the CDC has not recommended Hepatitis A vaccinations for food service workers” (Huddle, 2018). We can only hope that more information and awareness of Hepatitis A outbreaks can help force a decline in it’s prevalence. For more information of state reported Hepatitis A incidents you can visit the Food Safety News web page.

Adult Obesity Map

This is a map that we created based off of data from the Center for Disease Control. This information shows the percentage of adults that were classified as obese in the year 2010. Blue indicates areas with the lowest percentages, while red shows areas where obesity in adults is more prevalent. It is interesting to think about the fact that we have so much food here in the US, yet getting a hold of healthy options is more difficult then it should be. #foodforthought

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Keeping Produce Pesticide Free

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DriftWatch, a map created by Purdue University, helps pesticide applicators and specialty crop growers communicate more effectively to promote awareness and stewardship activities to help prevent and manage drift effects. Drifting is when wind and weather factors can cause pesticides sprayed in the air or ground to move off target and into other areas. DriftWatch allows farmers to mark their sensitive fields on an online map so sprayers can better identify which areas to use caution around.

Read the rest of the article here and check out the map here.

Juhi Mawla, Intern, gis@vertices.com

Trying to Eat Local on Food Stamps?

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The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) has used GIS to visually display where U.S. farmers’ markets are located and what portion of those markets reported accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assurance Program otherwise known as SNAP benefits as payment using data from ERS’s Food Environment Atlas. In 2013, about one in every four farmers’ markets reported accepting SNAP benefits. But, the proportion of SNAP-accepting farmers’ markets isn’t uniform across the country. In about two-thirds of the counties with at least one farmers’ market, no markets reported accepting SNAP. Areas in the Northeast, Southwest, and along the West Coast have a relatively high percentage of farmers’ markets that report accepting SNAP.

Check out the map and article here and check out the Food Environment Atlas

Juhi Mawla, Intern, gis@vertices.com 

Sunlight Maps for the City/Icarus

The Burj Khalifa opened in Dubai this week, officially becoming the tallest structure in the world.  At the beginning of the 20th century, New York City adopted zoning ordinances in part to protect citizens from losing access to fresh air and sunlight from the increasingly tall buildings that were being constructed.  Urban farming faces many barriers, but one of the most fundamental is available sunlight.  Rural farms enjoy uninterrupted direct sunlight, but for urban farms and gardens adapting to their taller neighbors requires thought and planning.  The sunlight demands of various crops can be selected by the available light hours of a site.  Rooftop and vertical growing schemes can also provide improved light from ground-level lots.  Urban agriculture is receiving a lot of promising attention as a means to both revitalize and humanize cities.  In a December 27th article from the LA Times, investors in Detroit are considering urban farms as a means to bring the city back.  For these lofty aspirations and even the humble ambitions of new urban residents that want to grow some of their own food, an urban sunlight map could prove invaluable.  The nexus of GIS and sunlight in urban areas has primarily been utilized by engineering and architecture for energy efficiency and daylighting. GIS is poised to be able to provide sunlight maps for use in agriculture, climate change reduction strategies, and even the preservation of historical buildings like churches whose stained glass windows once basked in full sunlight before being cast into shadow by skyscrapers.

Image from World Sunlight Map

For more about practical barriers to growing in the city: The New Wave of Urban Farming

For the connection between urban agriculture and combating climate change: Growing Skyscrapers

Carl Kunda, VERTICES intern