Geographic information systems (GIS) for Health Promotion and Public Health: a review

Health Promot Pract. 2011 Jan;12(1):63-73. doi: 10.1177/1524839909334624. Epub 2009 Jun 22.


The purpose of this literature review is to identify how geographic information system (GIS) applications have been used in health-related research and to critically examine the issues, strengths, and challenges inherent to those approaches from the lenses of health promotion and public health. Through the review process, conducted in 2007, it is evident that health promotion and public health applications of GIS can be generally categorized into four predominant themes: disease surveillance (n = 227), risk analysis (n = 189), health access and planning (n = 138), and community health profiling (n = 115). This review explores how GIS approaches have been used to inform decision making and discusses the extent to which GIS can be applied to address health promotion and public health questions. The contribution of this literature review will be to generate a broader understanding of how GIS-related methodological techniques and tools developed in other disciplines can be meaningfully applied to applications in public health policy, promotion, and practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Geographic Information Systems*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Public Health*