Geographic Information systems commonly referred to as GIS is a combination of several technological and scientific tools that are used in the management of Geographic relationships. The tools can manage the relationships across integrated numerous types of information to get data about an area or even manage a project. GIS can as well help in choosing a delivery route or choosing an ideal site for something you want to implement.
Over time, GIS has been used in several other fields because of the benefits it offers. Though, there are some growing needs to use GIS in Public health. It has been used in Business, economics, and government to analyze data that could otherwise help in decision making.
There are several reasons why Public health is turning to GIS applications but research application is at the top of it all. In simple terms, public health is a discipline that studies the health of the general public rather than individuals. This discipline always focuses on prevention rather than treatment.
In most areas, public health operates under the wings of the government. This means that it’s very rare to see a private developer venturing into public health.
The fact that this discipline involves a lot of research and data analysis means that GIS is helpful to a greater extent. It is actually used in research, disease control, and planning. This brief examines all the uses of GIS in Public health. We are here to examine how GIS is used and how the privacy of sensitive medical data is maintained with this technological and scientific tool.
1. Data Mapping-This is the first and most influential use of GIS in public health. It helps in providing a visual representation of medical data. According to findings, more than 80% of the data collected has a geographical significance and that’s why GIS is imperative along the way to map this data.
2. Mapping Quantities-The data collected in public health may show some variations especially in the number of people affected by a certain health issue. In this regard, GIS can help map the quantities of deaths, affected people and several other things.
3. Mapping densities-There are several situations where researchers and administrators in public health need to map concentrations and even quantities normalized by area or even data per total number and GIS can greatly help.
4. Finding what is inside-Today, Public health administers can use GIS to determine what is happening within a certain area or location. They can find what is happening in an area which can later affect the decisions they make about the same.
5. What are nearby-GIS can as well be used to find what is nearby? What this shows is that researchers can map what is happening within a distance and to some extent show what is anticipated to happen.
6. Proximity analysis-This is a method or a technique that is used to define the relationship between one location and the other. In public health, GIS can be used to map such comparisons.
7. Buffering-The same technique can as well been used to indicate the sphere of influence of a certain decease in a given point. This technique involves creating a zone around a certain place. The method can be used to mark a point around a certain geographical feature. A good example is the type of information that is used in a certain place to mark the influence of a certain factor such as hunger or outbreaks of diseases in a school.
8. Location analysis-The same GIS can easily be used to identify a location that is affected by a certain decease or a certain issue. The technique has also been theoretically proven to be used to explain observed conditions. It can be used to also identify optimal locations.
9. Helps in Decision making-The information captured and analyzed through GIS can really inform the decisions especially by public health personnel and the instructors. It can inform the decisions by the authorities to administer vaccines, foods and other forms of treatment. Today, people are considering using this method to make decisions and at the same time determine whether or not certain people are affected.
10. Recordkeeping-In Public health, the administrators have the responsibility to maintain authoritative records. They also have to keep data from specific affected areas that may impact the government’s funding. It can as well help in keeping records about people that are dealing with a hunger for future references. As the government wants to see whether the situations have improved, they will still use GIS.