Spatial Analysis, GIS, and Remote Sensing Applications in the Health Sciences
Medical geography is a very active subdiscipline of geography which has traditionally focused on the spatial aspects of disease ecology and health care delivery. Until fairly recently, as was the case with most other geographic fields of study, medical geographers collected and analyzed their data using methods such as making on-theground observations (e.g., of malarial mosquito habitats) and drawing maps (e.g., of hospital catchment areas) by hand. With the advent of geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing (RS) technologies, computers which could handle large amounts of data, and sophisticated spatial analytic software programs, medical geography has been transformed. It is now possible, for example, to make many measurements from far above the earth’s surface and produce dozens of maps of disease and health phenomena in a relatively short time. This explosion of new capabilities, however, needs to be systematically organized and discussed so that researchers in medical geography can get to know what resources are now available for their use. In this book we set out to accomplish that task of organization and description.
This volume represents an effort to collect, conceptualize, and synthesize research on geomedical applications of spatial analysis, geographic information systems, and remote sensing. Our purpose is to present a resource guide that will facilitate and stimulate appropriate use of geographic techniques and geographic software (geographic information systems and remote sensing) in health-related issues. Our target audience includes health practitioners, academicians (students and instructors), administrators, departments, offices, institutes, centers, and other health-related organizations that wish to explore the interface between health/ disease and spatial analysis, geographic information systems, and remote sensing.
This chapter first sets out the scope of this volume using definitions of geotechniques and health science disciplines. The definitions provide parameters used to determine whether to include or exclude articles for our review. The editors and authors apologize up front for omissions; however, due to space (as well as human) limitations some interesting research might fail to appear in this volume.
2. How Spatial Analysis Can be Used in Medical Geography
3. Geographic Information Systems: Medical Geography
4. Geographic Information Systems in Health Services Research
5. GIS-Aided Environmental Research: Prospects and Pitfalls
6. Infectious Disease and GIS
7. A Historical Perspective on the Development of Remotely Sensed Data as Applied to Medical Geography
8. The Integration of Remote Sensing and Medical Geography: Process and Application