SPH exterior

8th Annual GIS Day and Workshop 2012

Public Participatory GIS
(Geographic Information Systems)

April 24 & 25, 2012

April 24 - Conference Day
Registration Fee: $30.00 - includes continental breakfast and a lunch

Keynote Speaker:

Wansoo Im, Vertices Inc
Public Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS) has become an important tool for public health initiatives through its focus on community collaboration, planning, and public cooperation. PPGIS allows the public to become more engaged in the design and decision making processes within their communities by its use of mapping. Local community members can participate in collecting, sharing, and interpreting public health data as well as in developing, organizing, and implementing health interventions/programs by using available map data. The incorporation of PPGIS into community health initiatives can be used to raise awareness on issues that affect groups collectively. Recent innovation of mobile/web-based technology has enabled PPGIS concepts to become more accessible and powerful within the public health sector. In this presentation, we will look at several of our past projects to see specific examples of how evolving mobile/web information technology has impacted PPGIS in public health.


Richard Welty, Open StreetMap
Open StreetMap and Public Interest Mapping
OpenStreetMap is a project to build, Wikipedia style, a free digital map
of the world.This presentation provides a brief introduction to OpenStreetMap, and then discusses a number of Public Interest projects using OpenStreetMap as a basis. These projectsinclude multi-modal transportation routing in Portland Oregon, crime statistics mapping in Oakland California, and the activities of HOT (Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team) in disaster response and mapping in the developing world.

David Scales, HealthMap
HealthMap and Participatory Epidemiology: Engaging the Public in Epidemic Surveillance
HealthMap has developed a number of mechansims to engage the public in epidemic surveillance, which we call participatory epidemiology. Outbreaks Near Me, an app available for iPhone, iPad and Android allows users to easily submit epidemiological information while finding out about any outbreaks in their area. In our Flu Near You project with the American Public Health Association, users are engaged to submit weekly surveys about flu symptoms. User submissions are then mapped and can be compared with CDC influenza-like Illness rates. Using these two examples, this talk will examine some of the challenges and benefits of user-submitted epidemiological data.

Christopher Goranson, Director
Parsons Institute for Information Mapping

It's Personal: Volunteered Geographic Information in Public Health
Technologies driving the collection of VGI provide time-sensitive, fluid data from a broad pool of subjects using sophisticated yet easy-to-use data collection tools – principally the smart phone and other location-aware devices. Never before has it been so easy for health researchers to collect and analyze real-time location-based data. 

But how aware are individuals of the inherent risks posed by sharing a geographic footprint?  We protect our street address from prying eyes, but volunteer or are passively monitored for much more granular geographic data every day.  The use of such technologies to collect potentially identifiable data poses risks to both the researcher and the subject, and introduce new challenges and ethical problems if used improperly for health research. This talk examines the potential of VGI in public health research while discussing some challenges of using technology platforms that can leverage and provide collection tools for Volunteered Geographic Information.

Dr. Timothy L. Hawthorne, Assistant Professor of Geography
Georgia State University Department of Geosciences

A Healthier and Engaged Public through Public Participation GIS
In the past few decades, the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in health research has grown tremendously in North America.  With this growth, many academics and practitioners hope to increase participation of the general public in GIS-based studies of health and healthcare.  Researchers and practitioners recognize that community members and community organizations possess a vast and nuanced knowledge about neighborhood health concerns, but they also understand the multiple challenges of incorporating community-based knowledge in health research.  The subfield of Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) offers one direction for bridging the knowledge and expertise of community residents and organizations with the visualization and analytical powers of GIS.  In this talk, I will discuss the opportunities for and challenges to a health-focused PPGIS that partners academics with community-based organizations and residents.  I will draw heavily on two PPGIS studies that rely on community-driven questions and data collection to address neighborhood health concerns.  I will first discuss the “Maps2Serve Project” in Columbus, Ohio.  Entering its fifth year, the Maps2Serve project engages community residents and college students in a service learning project to map and document community assets, health concerns, and challenges in the Near Eastside of Columbus.  I will then discuss the “Sick and Tired Project” in Atlanta, Georgia.  As a developing community-university partnership, “Sick and Tired” engages community residents, non-profits, and college students in a mapping and clean-up effort of illegally dumped tires in South Atlanta.  Both projects highlight the benefits and challenges of a health-focused Public Participation GIS and demonstrate the potential of PPGIS for developing a healthier and engaged public.

Tara Salerno, Environmental Review Specialist
New York Natural Heritage Program
iMapInvasives - Observation Data Entry Training
Tracking invasive species in New York with volunteers and professionals
Invasive species have become a ubiquitous challenge for those tasked with managing lands and waters. Deciding whether to control invasive populations and identifying the most effective techniques are best made with accurate, up-to-date spatial data and information about other management efforts. In New York, the State invasive species database (iMapInvasives) was launched in 2010 to provide an effective, GIS-based mechanism for aggregating and sharing detailed invasive species data. Initial efforts focused on gathering existing State datasets and training users for basic online data entry. In addition to land managers and professionals, training opportunities have also been targeted toward educators and citizen scientists. These efforts have produced an extensive and growing dataset of invasive species observations for NY. With the recent launch of a smartphone interface, iMapInvasives now makes reporting even easier for the public and land managers.

April 25 - Workshops

Hands-on Training Public Participation GIS - click for more information
Registration Fee: $15.00 for day long course
(This class is full.)

Creating Maps with SAS/GRAPH - click for more information
Registration Fee: Free

This workshop is supported by the New York State Department of Health and grants from the Centers for Disease Control Environmental Tracking and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Brownfield Programs.

This project is supported under a Cooperative Agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Award Number 5U90TP000404-02. The contents of this program do not necessarily represent the official view of the CDC.


Empire State PHTC logo

NYS Department of Health logo