The Present States of Surveillance – the implementation of GIS and Remote Sensing in Spatial Epidemiology.     


A Flowchart used to assign levels of engagement in the Medical GIS process.    


Normal Ranks 1 to 9 (1=low; 9=high performance and success; 10 = ideal theoretically rank.     


Status, in this illustration is almost 6.   Although this score is based on interviews etc. analyses completed a half year ago  These assignments are based on the forms of software/programming required for each step and its uses, i.e. presentation and/or utilization, levels of spatial math, spatial representation, and analytic tools/methods used.  Note: last month’s second review demonstrated considerable progress.     


Improvements in accuracy, presentability, complexity, dimensionality, utilization, and predictability are some of the major changes required for each step.     


To effectively deal with Ebola, the higher end agencies are working close to levels 7 and 8, and testing at levels 8 and 9.

The circled level is where we need to be for outbreaks like those of Ebola and other foreign born emerging diseases.  Research stations and facilities at major headquarters no doubt have these technologies in place.  Where we are lacking is at the infrastructure level and the lack of engagement in upgrading our software and skillsets.  


     In some ways, this reminds critics of what happened due to the natural disasters we experienced over the recent years.  There were a number events we were "unprepared for", resulting in limited recognition, delayed response, and inadequate long term follow up for these events .


     The point here is that we should use cases like these as lessons, that very well could prepare us for a repeat in these same events next year, but with worse consequences.  


     This year’s spatial epidemiological events–ebola, chikungunya, polio in the Middle East, the polio-like condition in California, the measles outbreaks and other immunized diseases in the U.S., and most recently Whooping Cough (is mumps, rubella, or diphtheria next?)– demonstrate better systems should be put in in place at regional and local levels.  These systems should match the level most of the better standard system in health care are at currently (Levels 6) and be able to progress rapidly to levels 7 and 8 (begin to employ NLCD, grid, DEM, RS, NIR, vector-NDWI, RADAR, LiDAR, live LS or equivalents), and even 9 (prediction/accurate risk assignment) for the most advanced.  


     The technology we need to accomplish this goal exists right now.  Only human behaviors can be used to explain why Medical GIS, as a profession, has not reached its fullest potential.


     Those companies and health care organizations that start right now will become the local Innovators and Supporters.  Those that wait, but ultimately find a way in are Early Followers.  


     Which pack does your company or healthcare group belong to?


      I am currently trying to document our participation and rate of implementation, including with this ANONYMOUS survey,


     described at:


     and directly accessible at: