GIS and disease

Annu Rev Public Health. 2003;24:7-24. doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.24.012902.141019. Epub 2002 Oct 23.


Geographic information systems (GIS) and related technologies like remote sensing are increasingly used to analyze the geography of disease, specifically the relationships between pathological factors (causative agents, vectors and hosts, people) and their geographical environments. GIS applications in the United States have described the sources and geographical distributions of disease agents, identified regions in time and space where people may be exposed to environmental and biological agents, and mapped and analyzed spatial and temporal patterns in health outcomes. Although GIS show great promise in the study of disease, their full potential will not be realized until environmental and disease surveillance systems are developed that distribute data on the geography of environmental conditions, disease agents, and health outcomes over time based on user-defined queries for user-selected geographical areas.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Causality
  • Communicable Diseases / etiology
  • Disease Vectors
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Geographic Information Systems*
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Public Health Informatics*
  • United States