Monday, February 8, 2016

Using GIS to Predict Emergency Situations

Place and health are not “fixed realities but are situated and socially produced in particular contexts. What this means is that GIS are being used in public health studies to model where people live and the environments they experience through their day to day lives. With this information, it can be mapped out where the higher health risk areas are and where emergency services are needed. Understanding issues ranging from medical epidemiology to health care access requires a comprehensive understanding of their spatial distribution as well as the physical, social, and psychological environments with which they occur in. Researchers, public health professionals, and policymakers use GIS to better understand the geographic relationships that affect health outcomes, public health risks, disease transmission, access to health care, and other public health concerns.

This study presents a methodology for performing health emergency assessments and generating hazard maps that show areas that are potentially at high risk for health emergencies. The goal of collected this data is to take action on the planning, management, and prevention levels of emergency situations. Using neural networks and GIS theory researchers and analysts are able to create intelligence. This intelligence is then used to predict the mathematical patterns regarding the locations of emergency events. The power of GIS comes from the ability to relate different information in a spatial context and to reach a conclusion about the relationship.

Grekousis, G., & Photis, Y. N. (2014). Analyzing high-risk emergency areas with GIS and neural networks: The case of Athens, Greece. The Professional Geographer66(1), 124-137.

I have acted with honesty and integrity in producing this work and am unaware of anyone who has not. -Daniel Buffington


  1. This seems like a very promising use of GIS! What factors should be considered when creating these maps? Average household income? Access to healthcare? Previous emergency calls? % of residents living in poverty?

  2. Interesting! I wonder if this will lead to an increase in hospitals and other emergency healthcare centers in this area?

  3. This is very helpful in predicting a health emergency. By mapping out hot spots, the emergency services are prepared and most likely are ready to go to or near these hot spots in case of an emergency.

  4. The comprehensive information able to be contrived from GIS mapping has become fundamental in understanding how to deal with events such as the oil spill off the Gulf of Mexico and the water levels present in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Identifying the multifaceted affects of disasters is necessary in developing strategies to improve the environments and populations, and create infrastructure and plans to combat future emergency situations. Interesting!

  5. It would be great if emergency centers could use this information in order to make their processes quicker and more time efficient!