April2016_Counts

As of today, 17,963 visitors have come to this site since January 1st, 2016, visiting 26,485 pages, resulting in an average of about 1.5 pages per visitor in 2016.  That additional page, is usually a new visitor visiting my home page to learn more about the producer of this blog site.

This site is slowly approaching the 100,000 hits per year mark.  It will probably come close, but not pass this number by the end of 2016.

But by tomorrow morning, I am pretty certain I will have passed the 350,000 hits mark, being visited by about 2/3 x 350,000 times, about 117,000 people, essentially over the past 5.5 years.

There are currently 713 pages on this site, and another several dozen sitting until that are either completed but on hold, or being held until security privileges are lifted for other researchers accessing the data they hold.

My number one pages for all the time since their  first posting are as follows:

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The Census Disease Maps page, which tops this list, is a fairly recent addition relative to the rest.  This tells us just how hot a topic like mapping population health has become.

If we combine the two pages devoted to hexagonal grid analysis–one which is informative, the other for downloading the excel file to produce you data with for learning this precious GIS skill–then hexagonal grids is my second hottest topic for this site.  For the time being, I am given unofficial credit for having worked with, tested, analyzed, and successfully applied this innovative way of mapping data.  Its most important attribute–it reduces  spatial error by about 26% when used instead of the square grid method still heavily promoted.

No other spatial mathematician has produced and circulated this important spatial method, since I first posted this methodology several years ago.  (For background information, I invented this method/the math in winter of 2003/4, while looking for GIS work, which I didn’t find, and used it successfully to map chemical exposure in the state of Oregon, and develop much smoother contour maps and 3D surface models of this exposure history using a combined grid-raster GIS-Remote Sensing analytic system.)

For a while, “Cattle Drives . . . ” was very much my hottest page after these first ones.  “Small Pox and Cree” and “Four Prussian Diseases” remain at the top since they were first posted, four or five years ago.

My Thesis on historical medical geography has climbed up several levels recently, suggesting to me the growing interest in the history of medical geography, not just spatial epidemiology.

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In general, the history of medical geography is the singlemost important part of this rapidly growing field.  As a graduate student in the field, I found it interesting but not surprising that scholars were reinventing the wheel in the field of spatial health and medical geography.  My dozens of pages on the historical examples of disease mapping during the 19th century, and the most important, “first time” writings of a number of theories, recently re-invented by epidemiologists, are provided for researchers to review the true history of discoveries made in this field.

In fact, the medical sciences and recent natural sciences scholars in spatial epidemiology and medical geography/GIS have tried claiming they made discoveries that were around as far back 150 years.  This can be blamed on the prejudice this country and culture had against “learning geography” since the 1960s.  During the 1970s and 1980s, we were all hard scientists, strongly against the idea that sociological and cultural studies were really of much importance to United States academia, science research, health and medicine.  The schism between hard science and the social sciences that developed because of this ideology drove medical geography concepts into the backs of journals and books, and onto shelves in the library rarely visited by scientists, just the few geography students in academia.

With interests in spatial medicine now around for good, and the need to explore this other route to understanding people and health on the rise, medical geography is an essential way to learn sociology and medicine.  It may seem post-modernist to focus so much on neodarwinian people concepts, to want to understand how society and people spatially present themselves to researchers trying to understand disease and health behaviors, but this post-modern approach is important not only because it is new and “out of the box”, but also because it better explains some phenomena better than old fashioned science has done.

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The 2016 views listing shows the US is the first visitor to my site, followed by Canada.  Canada in turn is followed by the matron culture of its philosophy and theory — the UK.   Both Canada and the UK are ahead of the US as social geographers and social medical geographers; the US is and has often been tied with or slightly ahead of the UK with the scientific aspects of medicine.  But these rankings are hard to prove at 100%; there is a major ethnocentricity born within our judgments of where the most important scholars resided in history.  The UK, and by default Canada, have the originators of many of the social aspects of geography and some of the best methods for more completely analyzing medical geography data.  Statistics and epidemiology were probably born and promoted by England, and many an British scholar came up with important new uses for mapping and health.  But remember, many of these techniques weren’t invented by the U.K., just made better and propogated further, and perhaps because they translated these methods into English, made it possible for followers to attempt same applications of their skills.

My review of medical geography history shows that the Prussian, Germanic cultures were in some ways ahead of the British with mapping concepts.  But until their findings and discoveries could be translated into books published in the English language, those lessons were not going to impact enough substantial scholars.  For this reason, a lot of traditional medical geography works are still unpublished, undiscovered, were it not for the attempts at this site to find them and bring them back into the global knowledge bank (i.e. Schnurrer’s first map of disease, 1827).

US disease cartographers of the early 1800s were some of the most important discoverers of medical geography techniques.  Samuel Mitchell is my primary example. He is one notch better than Benjamin Rush, and singlehanded made “Medical Geography” a publishable medical term. Early US cartographers like Mitchell made discoveries that were often dropped, remaining unused until their rediscovery by geographers and mathematicians in this field after the late 1960s.

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For a number of reasons, determinism is why geography was dropped by most academicians and medical scholars.  Coupled with pro-socialist and pro-Marxist ideology, this particular behavior of geographers made them an unwanted group at many of the annual science meetings.  More than thirty years ago, as a science major in two fields of science, I myself felt this breed of scholars was very much into its own paradigm, its own ideology with its own philosophical underpinnings.   Now, decades later, I appreciate these older teachings, because they explain some things better than scientific thought and reasoning can do.

There are a number of philosophies or interpretations of disease and geography, founded and first published in the early 1800s, that have direct applications to today.s spatial analyst processes.  And this is the reason one third of my site is devoted to the history of medicine and medical geography.  One has to understand and read about the philosophy to then better apply it to the modern world.

Two examples of Sequent Occupancy

Let’s accept the fact that epidemiological transition is not as good a model as Sequent occupancy modelling of disease patterns is for the United States, at least when it comes to the details of the new public health issues.

The hierarchical diffusion theory, published in the late 1890s by US Geographers, was first penned in the late 18th century by Benjamin Rush, although mostly in theory and riddled with political opinions and prejudice.  But its version stated by a NY physician upon observing cholera strike the US for this first time, enabled hierarchical diffusion ideology to be trained at the US medical schools and be published as an aside in the medical journals and many theses then published on this topic.

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Medical geographers are, or can be, ahead of the masses in medical science.  Science alone cannot describe some of the things we now can document in this new information technology dependent world.

I can guarantee you, that if you read through all of my pages and learn the philosophy presented on the history of medical geography and disease cartography, that you will be several steps of others in this field, including many of its passing leaders.

If you want to be ahead, be like Valentine Seaman: observe, learn, test and discover, and then apply it by trying something new.

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