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. 2008 Feb 25;7:8.
doi: 10.1186/1476-072X-7-8.

Online GIS Services for Mapping and Sharing Disease Information

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Free PMC article

Online GIS Services for Mapping and Sharing Disease Information

Sheng Gao et al. Int J Health Geogr. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Background: Disease data sharing is important for the collaborative preparation, response, and recovery stages of disease control. Disease phenomena are strongly associated with spatial and temporal factors. Web-based Geographical Information Systems provide a real-time and dynamic way to represent disease information on maps. However, data heterogeneities, integration, interoperability, and cartographical representation are still major challenges in the health geographic fields. These challenges cause barriers in extensively sharing health data and restrain the effectiveness in understanding and responding to disease outbreaks. To overcome these challenges in disease data mapping and sharing, the senior authors have designed an interoperable service oriented architecture based on Open Geospatial Consortium specifications to share the spatio-temporal disease information.

Results: A case study of infectious disease mapping across New Brunswick (Canada) and Maine (USA) was carried out to evaluate the proposed architecture, which uses standard Web Map Service, Styled Layer Descriptor and Web Map Context specifications. The case study shows the effectiveness of an infectious disease surveillance system and enables cross-border visualization, analysis, and sharing of infectious disease information through interactive maps and/or animation in collaboration with multiple partners via a distributed network. It enables data sharing and users' collaboration in an open and interactive manner.

Conclusion: In this project, we develop a service oriented architecture for online disease mapping that is distributed, loosely coupled, and interoperable. An implementation of this architecture has been applied to the New Brunswick and Maine infectious disease studies. We have shown that the development of standard health services and spatial data infrastructure can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of public health surveillance.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Disease mapping architecture. This architecture includes a data storage tier, an ontology engine tier, a standard health services tier, and a maps and animation tier.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Spatio-temporal data model for disease data. This data model is an object-oriented model and used for the data integration.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Implemented mapping and collaboration framework. The framework contains client side, health portal and application server.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Crude Morbidity Ratio 2000. It represents Crude Morbidity Ratio distribution of all the cells with the parameters (Dissemination Area/Census Block Group level, year 2000, all age group, influenza).
Figure 5
Figure 5
Crude Morbidity Ratio 2001. It represents Crude Morbidity Ratio distribution of all the cells with the parameters (Dissemination Area/Census Block Group level, year 2001, all age group, influenza).
Figure 6
Figure 6
Web Map Service integration. It is integrated from three WMS services that produce school absenteeism charts, thematic disease maps and world boundary maps.
Figure 7
Figure 7
Discussion forum for decision making. After users click the "launch forum" button, they could log into the forum and share maps and text with others.
Figure 8
Figure 8
Service level sequential diagram for disease data sharing. After users log into the forum, they can obtain disease maps and share them with others. Each shared map is given a unique identification.

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