GIS and Related Information: Influenza / Public Health

This list was compiled by the Emergency Preparedness Committee.

Influenza SpecificOnline Maps  |  General Flu Info  |  General GIS

Public HealthGeneral Info  |  Mapping Systems  |  Fed/State GISStudies/Programs  |  Software/ToolsGeneral Data Sources

Influenza Specific

Online Maps

  • CDC Weekly Influenza Summary Map: Weekly influenza surveillance report prepared by the Influenza Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • CDC Influenza Surveillance Regions: Outpatient illness and laboratory data are reported on a national level and by influenza surveillance regions.
  • Computational Quantitative Projections for H1N1 Flu Dynamics in the United States: Research on Complex Systems, Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics, Northwestern University, uses GIS to show the anticipated advance of the H1N1 virus for time frames of up to 10 days into the future for the United States. Click on one of the smaller maps below the main depiction to watch the future advance of the disease. Modeling is derived using resources of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility at Argonne National Laboratory.
  • GLEaM: The Global Epidemic and Mobility modeler is a product of an Indiana University research group that is interested in understanding the world-wide spread of diseases, in this case H1N1. Technically described as a platform “that integrates sociodemographic and population mobility data in spatially structured stochastic disease models to simulate the spread of epidemics at the worldwide scale,” there are additional GIS displays available from this link.
  • Health Map Global Disease Alert Map: Collaborative map product made possible by funding from Partners include the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Use the zoom feature to zero in on an area of interest, and then click on the bubble icons for news updates.
  • New York Times – Tracking Swine Flu Cases Maps: By clicking on the slide bar dates at the top of the right-hand inset box, you can view the geospatial expansion of the disease over time on North America and Worldwide maps.
  • Pacific Disaster Center: The highly regarded Pacific Disaster Center has recently added H1N1 tracking to its interactive online Natural Hazards and Vulnerabilities Atlas. Use the tools and layer selection features to declutter the presentation and zoom into an area of interest.
  • Influenza Map: Map at the federal government’s main pandemic website.
  • USA Today Flu Map: Set of maps showing swine flu cases and precautions around the world with current country information available by scrolling pointer over location. Time lapse sequence of the United States is available by selecting that page and then using the scroll bar feature in the legend.

General Influenza and Related Information

  • CIDRAP: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, founded in 2001, is a global leader in addressing public health preparedness and emerging infectious disease response. Part of the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota, CIDRAP is led by Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director and professor, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health.
  • HSEM Pandemic Supplement to the Minnesota Emergency Operations Plan: The purpose of this document is to provide a coordinated response to Pandemic Influenza using the incident command structure (33 p., 747K, PDF).
  • HSEM Local Jurisdiction Service Continuation Planning Guide: Describes operating approaches for local jurisdictions to use while maintaining basic services during pandemic flu (53 p., 445K, PDF).
  • Mass Medical Care with Scarce Resources: A Community Planning Guide: Provides community planners—as well as planners at the institutional, State, and Federal levels—with information on planning for and responding to a mass casualty event.
  • Minnesota Department of Health Pandemic Influenza Homepage: Tons of information related community planning that is needed for schools, hospitals, businesses, and your government, to make sure you can continue to receive the services you need.
  • Minnesota Pandemic Influenza Plan: This supplement to the MDH All-Hazards Response and Recovery Plan gives details of MDH's activities during and in preparation of an influenza pandemic.
  • MNTrac: (Minnesota system for Tracking Resources, Alerts, and Communication) is a database-driven, password-protected web application designed specifically to track bed capacity, pharmaceuticals and resources (e.g., ventilators, personal protective and decontamination equipment) from all hospitals within the state to support surge capacity needs. It has no visualization capability at the current time.
  • OEP: As part of the Minnesota Department of Health, the Office of Emergency Preparedness coordinates preparedness activities and assists local public health agencies, hospitals, health care organizations and public safety officials in their efforts to plan for, respond to and recover from public health emergencies.
  • Federal government’s homepage for information concerning pandemic influenza.

General GIS Related Information

  • Avian Influenza Preparedness Planning and Response -- GIS Applications: Although the title suggests this focuses on Avian influenza, the excellent examples and potential uses described in this presentation have value for all influenza scenarios. It was produced by the Scientific Technologies Corporation using information current through 2007. Don’t miss the slide showing the “Wall of Knowledge” at the Health Secretary’s Command Center, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, found on slide 38 (57 slides, 8.1 MB, PowerPoint).
  • GIS in State Pandemic Influenza Plans: This presentation was given by Chris Kinabrew, MPH, MSW, Public Health Specialist, on September 24, 2006, at the NAPHIT 2006 Annual Meeting. This ESRI-sponsored presentation gives a good review of the state of affairs at that time, and by deductive reasoning, the unfortunate reality of current circumstances. (26 slides, 2.9 MB, PowerPoint)
  • Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS), NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS): This page relates the story of how GIS was used to model the progression of influenza under two scenarios: with vaccine intervention and without. Although grainy, of interest is the GIS time lapse that plays using the links in the right hand inset box. Read the description before playing.
  • State of Minnesota GIS Pandemic Needs Analysis Report: A study of Minnesota state agency pandemic and flu outbreak responsibilities that focuses on their existing capacities and use of GIS support (61 p., 327K, PDF). See p. 47 for the start of recommendations/plan of action for response.
  • Using GIS in Pan Flu Response: Power Point presentation by Seth Wiafe, M.P.H., Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Center for Public Health Preparedness (33 p., 4.6 MB, PDF).

Public Health

General Information

  • Baystate Medical Center Health Geographics Program: Based in Massachusetts and associated with Tufts University, this program is recognized as an international leader in bringing geospatial awareness to the Public Health community. Of particular value from this homepage is access to educational videos and publications via links at the bottom of the page, and an amazing collection of informational links accessed from the left hand inset.
  • CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response: Hub for a wide variety of information concerning emergency preparedness and response covering natural and man-made disasters.
  • CPHP: Founded in 2002, the Center for Public Health Preparedness is part of the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Centers for Public Health Education and Outreach. Funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, its mission is to train state and local public health workers and others to prepare for and respond to terrorism incidents, infectious disease outbreaks and emergent public health threats. From its home page there are a variety of online educational tools that bring understanding to the fusion of emergency preparedness/response and public health.
  • ESRI Homepage on Health: ESRI is the world’s largest provider of GIS software. This site links out to numerous articles, videos, and presentations that explain the use of GIS for Public Health.
  • ESRI Page on Available Public Health Literature: Books and whitepapers on the use of GIS for Public Health.
  • GeoPrimer: Although developed for the environmental public health tracking community, provides a good basic understanding of GIS terms and use for the general medical community (16 p., 1.9MB, PDF).
  • GIS and Public Health: Sponsored by the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control. This site is a collection of links concerning GIS use in the health community.
  • National Cancer Institute GIS Web Hub: A very extensive resource site well worth the visit.
  • Public Health Emergency Preparedness: An Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Site that contains a wide variety of affiliated resource information for public health emergencies.

Examples of Public Health Related Mapping Systems

  • AEGIS: Advanced Emergency GIS is a collaborative effort between Air-Trak, ESRI and Loma Linda University to create real time situational awareness displays for the emergency medical services community.
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System: BRFSS Maps is an interactive mapping application that graphically displays the prevalence of behavioral risk factors at the state and MMSA level. Using GIS mapping technology and BRFSS data, it allows users to visually compare prevalence data for states, territories, and local areas. Site also includes links to download available data.
  • BioSense is a CDC national program intended to improve the nation’s capabilities for conducting real-time biosurveillance, and enabling health situational awareness through access to existing data from healthcare organizations across the country. Find a wealth of information about GIS use in this program by following links from the homepage and subpages.
  • California’s Health Care Atlas System: A publicly accessible interactive mapping application using hospital and other healthcare facility data including facility locations, financial and utilizations reports, and patient level summaries.
  • EnviroMapper by EPA is an interactive map that displays various types of environmental information related to public health including air releases, drinking water, toxic releases, hazardous wastes, water discharge permits, and Superfund sites.
  • Grasp and GATHER: Descriptions of these two programs and GIS use at the Centers for Disease Control.
  • HC Standard for Healthcare is a product that allows real time status tracking of patients, assets, and response facilities using geospatial visualization as the program’s backbone. Developed in collaboration with ESRI and Baystate Medical.
  • TOXMAP is a pilot project developed at the National Library of Medicine that creates nationwide or local area maps showing where chemicals are released into the air, water and ground. It provides access to relevant chemical information and provides region-specific links to chemical and bibliographic information.

Examples of Federal and State Use of GIS



Studies and Programs that Consider GIS Use in the Public Health Community

  • Hospital Available Beds for Emergencies and Disasters (HAvBED) System: HAvBED explores the feasibility of a national real-time hospital-bed tracking system to address a surge of patients during a mass casualty event. GIS is an integrated component to facilitate rapid situational awareness.
  • Minnesota Public Health Information Network (MN-PHIN) Roadmap and Recommendations for Strategic Action: Planning document for Minnesota that recommends using GIS for health related disaster preparedness and monitoring. See page 13 for information concerning specific need for GIS systems (39 p., 396K, PDF format).
  • PHIN: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Information Network is a national initiative to improve the capacity of public health to use and exchange information electronically by promoting the use of standards, defining functional and technical requirements. It will incorporate GIS as a core component.
  • Wisconsin PHIN: PowerPoint presentation on the Wisconsin Public Health Information Network (PHIN) that uses GIS as a principal analytic tool (37 slides, 596K, PowerPoint).

Available Software and Tools

  • CLUSTER: This software is designed to help the researcher determine if there is a statistically significant chance that a cluster occurred other than by random phenomenon.
  • EpiAnalyst Extension for ArcView® GIS: EpiAnalyst is a low cost productivity tool and resource kit for spatial-epidemiologic research created by Research Epidemiology Geographic Software (REGS).
  • EPI Info: Download homepage for EPI Info 3.5.1, CDC’s free statistical program that is transitioning to an open source program. Program includes a module for mapping information.
  • EPRI: Emergency Preparedness Resource Inventory is a public health asset tracking tool that has a built-in mapping feature. A free product of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
  • ESRI Markers for Emergency Preparedness and Response: A variety of Arcscripts for emergency and response displayed on two pages. Includes the Department of Homeland Security symbol set.
  • FGDC Emergency Management Symbology Download: True Type font Department of Homeland Security standard symbology set for emergency preparedness and response.
  • GeoDa is a free software program that serves as an introduction to spatial data analysis. Created by Arizona State University, GeoDa has been used in a wide variety of situations to demonstrate geography statistically matters, including when it comes to disease concentrations and spread.
  • GeoBUGS: GeoBUGS software has been developed by a team at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health of Imperial College at St Mary's Hospital, London. It is an add-on to WinBUGS that fits spatial models and produces a range of maps as output. Bayesian inference is used to spatially smooth the standardized incidence/mortality ratios using Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods. GeoBUGS implements models for data that are collected within discrete regions (not at the individual level) and smoothing is done based on Markov random field models for the neighborhood structure of the regions relative to each other.
  • HealthVis: A free geospatial health statistic visualization program created by Penn State. Site contains other information about related efforts.
  • Linked Micromaps allows users to view multiple variables interactively and compare statistics across regions (states, counties, registries, hospitals) as well as across time.
  • SaTScan is a free software that analyzes spatial, temporal and space-time data using the spatial, temporal, or space-time scan statistics.
  • Tools for ArcMap: A listing of tools as provided by the National Cancer Institute.
  • Tickets is a free open source Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) program that provides communities that cannot afford high priced systems with access to a CAD platform that also includes referencing to the U.S. National Grid. Lead developer on the project is Arnie Shore, who did high-level federal work for many years.

Links to General Data Sources for Creating Public Health maps

The EPC does not endorse any commercial products which may appear in files referenced here. All information has been provided for educational purposes only.

Last updated May 14, 2009

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