Geography and Public Health

Maps have been used to track epidemics and contain diseases for hundreds of years.  GbBIS takes a look at the role geography has played in maintaining public health. 


GbBIS Kings County NY Census Map

In 14th century Europe, the Black Death killed off nearly half of the total population.  In the 19th century, Cholera spread throughout India, China, and Central Asia.  But thanks to the work of scientists and geographers over the centuries, the sources of these diseases were eventually discovered, and countless lives were saved.


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During the Cholera outbreak of 1854, physician John Snow walked around London’s SoHo district, knocking on doors and recording data onto a London map.  He discovered a majority of the Cholera outbreak was localized around the Broad Street water pump.  His map helped trace the source of the disease to contaminated water.


Snow’s work saved hundreds of lives in London, and today researchers and geographers around the world are continuing Snow’s work.  But instead of using simple, hand-drawn maps, they use digital maps, geographic data, and GeoCoding to track the spread of diseases.  University of South Florida’s Russell Kirby has been using geographic data and GeoCoding to track the prevalence of spina bifida in the US population.  His research has helped him establish a link between the disease and folic acid deficiencies.


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“The array of special analytical tools today is remarkable compared to what it was even five years ago,” said Kirby, who in the 1980s worked as a researcher for the Center for Health Statistics, when tracking using postal data was considered the latest innovation.


Geographic solutions help scientists visualize the spread of diseases and ultimately save lives.  But the benefits of geographic data don’t end there.  Businesses use high quality geographic data to map client locations, assess risk, and target advertising campaigns.


GbBIS offers solutions for any geography-based business problem.  We provide the highest quality maps, web applications, mapping databases, and reports to businesses throughout the US, Canada, and worldwide.  We work with you to create solutions that match your needs, uses, and budget.


Contact us today and find out how our GeoCoding services, geographic data, and custom maps can help your business




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