Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy GIS Day!

What a great fall season so far - October brought us World Statistics Day, and November brings us GIS Day. For those of you who aren't well-acquainted with the term, GIS stands for Geographic Information System. GIS brings together technology and data to create a unique way to capture and display information. We use GIS to visualize data in a way that's often more meaningful than simple tables of numbers, where the real story often gets lost in the rows and columns. Displaying the data in geographic context makes it easier to spot patterns, trends, and relationships.

HealthLandscape uses GIS technology to map community data, including health, socio-economic and environmental information. The power behind the HealthLandscape platform is that all of the data are freely available in one central location.

Figure 1. Rate of High Cost Conventional Loans - Cincinnati Region - 2008 (Tract Level)

Figure 2. Ohio Self-Sufficiency Standard 2008: One Adult, One Infant, One Preschooler

Figure 3. County-Level Counts of H1N1 Cases

Other groups and agencies use GIS for in variety of applications, including mapping the ground motion and shaking intensity after an earthquake, the environmental consequences of natural and man-caused disasters, estimated carbon emission patterns, and crime rates. There is even an entire project dedicated to the mapping of historical Census data - GIS For History.

Figure 4. Pacific Northwest Shakemap, U.S. Geological Survey

Figure 5. Guimaras Oil Spill, Philippines, WWF Philippines

Figure 6. Total Emissions of Fossil Fuel Carbon Dioxide, The Vulcan Project

Figure 7. Rutgers Crime Log, Rutgers University

Figure 8. The First Census: America in 1790, GIS For History

For more information on GIS, visit

Show the need.

Paint a portrait.

Tell the story.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Robert Graham Center Unveils Med School Mapper

The American Academy of Family Physicians’ Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care publicly launched the Med School Mapper project on November 1, 2010, with funding provided by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation.

Amidst American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) recommended expansion of medical education, principally through expansion of existing training sites, there is little mention or measurement of how the large investments of public dollars meet the needs of the citizens. In response to this, the Macy Foundation funds the Medical Education Futures Study (MEFS), whose main mission is “to highlight the social mission of medical education during the current period of medical school expansion and potential major health care reform. ” This ranking of schools by social accountability is a novel step in understanding their social impact on a national scale. However, as state policymakers attempt to direct expansion funding in terms of accountability to their own regional, social and health care access needs, they have few tools for understanding the local and regional impact of schools. Neither national rankings nor workforce models can capture the regional impact of training sites.

The Robert Graham Center has been studying means of demonstrating such an impact, using geographic and policy analyses of individual medical schools’ graduates (both allopathic and osteopathic). Using novel approaches to analyzing and displaying regional impact, the Med School Mapper will give planners essential information for directing and evaluating medical school expansion and its impact on access and other social aims. This tool utilizes American Medical Association (AMA) data, and ranks states and their medical schools on various areas of practice and the number and percent of graduates retained in state. The Mapper tracks the graduate footprint from a state, or medical school within that state, to provide a clear visualization of the practice locations of graduates by county, their penetration rates within counties, and information about the types of areas and specialties in which these graduates practice in order to provide data detailing how well a particular state or school meets its mission of social accountability.

Figure 1. State Footprint

Figure 2. School Footprint

Thursday, November 11, 2010

HealthLandscape Version 3.0 - Coming Soon!

The HealthLandscape team is in Washington, DC this week finishing up the development of HealthLandscape Version 3.0. We've been putting in long hours with our friends at Blue Raster and the Robert Graham Center making improvements to the current HealthLandscape. When HealthLandscape V3 is released, users will have access to a number of new tools including quick geocodes, quick maps, drawing tools, improved printing capabilities, and easy data exports, just to name a few.

We're very excited about the new developments. Many more details and final release date coming soon!