Hotspot analysis is a way fo finding the geographical areas with high and also low (called the cold spots) distribution of the specific variable. The below map shows the hotspot analysis of the distribution of non- vaccination rates in Texas. It is obvious the high non-vaccination rates are around central Texas which geographically correlates with San Antonio and Austin. The cold spots are interesting that they are more around the counties bordering Mexico.
Hotspot Analysis of Unvaccinated Rates in Texas 2016
The above map was created using data from DSHS Texas based on their report on vaccination among school children. The analysis is usually done to raise the research question around the variable based on its pattern of distribution.
In this map specifically, the area of interest is the cold spots which are the counties bordering Mexico. We expect more people not getting vaccinated because of cultural and socioeconomic factors. Since it is otherwise, it gets interesting to analyze the phenomenon. One more fact to be taken into consideration is maybe the unvaccination rates can be underreported because of a high immigrant population around the counties.
GIS is a powerful tool to represent straight out facts visually. But also a tool that can be used to rise new questions. The application is particularly useful in mixed method approach of a research study.
For example, CDC produced the following data and map on the rates of HIV diagnosis among adults and adolescents.
The maps show the distribution of new HIV cases being higher in the west, the northeast and the south. It shows states of Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Louisiana, and DC are among the top five. These facts among few other obvious ones show the observatory power of maps.
The map also leads to so many research questions :
- Is there a cultural factor that influences high rates in Nevada, given it has a very indigenous cultural makeup?
- What do Alabama and Mississippi do better to control the rates, when they are the geographical adjacents to LA and GA.
- Are there specific policies in DC that help people with HIV lead a better life – policies that help them deal with the stigma.
The are few questions among many that the map brings out.
Hence GIS can be used to represent data but also can be used as a tool to form research questions in mixed method analysis.
Always wanted to learn GIS but never found an opportunity? You’re in luck! Classes are being offered by by the Wayne County Assessor’s Office and the Wayne County/Richmond Geographic Information System Interlocal in Richmond, IN and Laredo Community College and Del Mar College in Laredo, TX. The separate programs are aimed for the public to learn more about GIS technology.
Richmond, IN area: Read the full article here and check out the site for more details.
Laredo, TX area: Read the full article here and call LCC Continuing Education Department at 956-721-5374 if you are interested.
Juhi Mawla, Intern, firstname.lastname@example.org