A review article on the application of GIS in health sciences

Applications of GIS in Health Sciences
Taravat Najafabadi AR.
Shiraz E Medical Journal 2009;10(4): 221-230
Keywords: GIS, health, mapping, Epidemics, Management

GIS provides an excellent means for visualising and analysing epidemiological data, revealing trends, dependencies and inter-relationships. It can acquire, store, manage, and geographically integrate large amounts of information from different sources, programmes and sectors. GIS serves as a common platform for the convergence of multi-disease surveillance activities. Standardised geo-referencing of epidemiological data facilitates structured approaches to data management. Once the basic structure is ready, it is easy to convert it to a surveillance system for any other disease. Public health resources, specific diseases and other health events can be mapped in relation to their surrounding environment and existing health and social infrastructures.
GIS helps generate thematic maps that depict the intensity of a disease or vector. GIS can identify catchment areas of health centres and also locate suitable sites for a new health facility. GIS allows interactive queries of information contained within the map, table or graph. It permits a dynamic link between databases and maps so that data updates are automatically reflected on the maps. Dynamic maps published on the Internet assist patients in locating the most convenient health services easily.