Researchers in New Zealand wanted to develop a method to be able to analyze and compare the association between contextual attributes of neighbourhoods and the health status of its residents. In order to do this they used the variety of GIS tools to develop precise measures of community resource accessibility for the smaller areas (differing neighbourhoods) within a country. Pearce, Witten, and Bartie created a list of 16 different types of community facilities that could possibly be health related.
After this chart was created they were able to run various tests to track the distance between areas of population and the locations. They wanted to be able to see the difference between residential, urban, and rural areas.
Looking at this map it is clear that there are large time differences especially between the urban and rural areas. The travel time to the nearest food shop ranged from one minute to 244 minutes. While they can’t measure the health of every single person in the population they can get a good feel for potential outcomes by analyzing the accessibility for various locations.
Pearce, J., Witten, K., & Bartie, P. (2006). Neighbourhoods and health: a GIS approach to measuring community resource accessibility. Journal of epidemiology and community health, 60(5), 389-395.