” As hurricane season hits the East Coast, public affairs officials at federal agencies grapple with how best to communicate with citizens in the path of the storm. One key way to deliver public safety information is through local media outlets. But how do they identify which news outlets best serve, for example, the broad stretch of coastline where Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall?
An enterprising communications coordinator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture says he’s identified a way to streamline this job using geographic information system (GIS) mapping.”
Please check out this map I created using ArcGIS. It details areas in Houston, Texas that are at-risk during an evacuation.
Click on the following link for more information about the map! https://noorg.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=8747f88810524c40bf7122fbbd759a42
GIS a relatively new and is finding its way to improve health. Developing countries deal with more technological challenges to make use of GIS. But nonetheless, a very effective project with implication and impact on the local community of Ahmedabad, India is shown below. The project was impactful – was able to communicate the uneducated & also the educated mass on the issue. It went on to be heard by local policymakers too.
The above map developed by UMC in help with AMC staff shows the spatial distribution of slums and community health centers across the city.
UMC staff visited AMC’s existing UHCs and CHCs to understand their functioning and understand the requirements for upgrading facilities. UMC developed a methodology which involved meetings and interviews with health staff including medical officers, pharmacists, lab technicians, multi-purpose workers (MPW) etc. Separate SWOT analysis was conducted with medical health workers and with pharmacists, lab technicians and MPWs. UMC with assistance of AMC staff, identified slum pockets and communities on the base map of Ahmedabad and also marked existing health facilities provided by the AMC. These maps were later transferred to a GIS environment to analyze the accessibility of health facilities by slum dwellers. This assisted in locating newer health facilities as proposed under the NUHM. UMC also has prepared model layouts for the new proposed health centres for the AMC. A detailed phase-wise budget and a proposal was prepared for the AMC for submission to Government of India under the NUHM.
Source: Office of Urban Development Authority of Ahmedabad, India.
The Huffington Post published an article last year that included a map of the unemployment rates in the U.S. from 1990 to 2013. The legend on the map lists rates of unemployment, with green meaning an unemployment rate of 5% or less and red meaning an unemployment rate of 8% or greater. To get a better understanding of the changes in unemployment rates between 1990 and 2013, please visit the Huffington Post’s article, here. The map on the website is in motion, visually representing drastic changes in rates of unemployment by year.
When looking at the map in motion, I encourage you to think about everything that was going on in the U.S. and the world at the time. How might those events have affected the change in unemployment rates?
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.
These maps from 2010 show the availability of grocery store locations and also the percentage of people who had a car to get there. The topic of food availability is already an interesting conversation.. is there enough food? Is there enough food, but it just isn’t distributed evenly? Why is healthy food more expense then unhealthy? Why has food become more of a business then of a way to survive? Take a look at these maps, because they bring another problem into the mix! Transportation and accessibility.
The information for the maps was collected from the USDA Food Environment Atlas and the maps were created by Meharry Medical College.