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Disease mapping

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

Disease mapping is an important set of tools in the management of disease. On the one hand, disease mapping is used to detect relationships between human and animal diseases, disease incidence and prevalence, and social factors. On the other hand, the publication of animal disease maps represents what cartographers refer to as the “map communication model” of risk communication. As well facilitating the management of animal disease by government veterinarians and policy makers, these maps can help raise awareness and vigilance among farmers and veterinarians.[1]

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) provide an effective way of managing, storing, analyzing, and mapping disease information. GIS has strong capabilities in mapping and analyzing not only spatial data, but also non-spatial data, and can integrate many kinds of data to greatly enhance disease surveillance.[2]



  • Maps could now be generated much faster and with greater precision than before, and disease diffusion could more easily be mapped and analyzed
  • medical geographers have the ability to assess the spatial distribution and accessibility of health services[3]
  • They can deliver a message without pages of text, and are therefore ideal for busy people or those who want a strategic view of the situation.
  • geo-referenced information gives a spatial dimension to environment–health linkages – not only pinpointing issues but also describing the intensity or extent of the cause or effect.
  • Maps of environmental information can be used as early-warning tools (see Figure 3) for health planners.
  • maps can be used to indicate trends over time
  • Some data sets can be recorded and displayed in near-real time, such as air pollution dispersion. This enables planners to issue warnings or to take mitigatory actions[4]


  • Maps could expose the information of the users who had their data being exposed to the website and this defies the Information privacy laws.
  • The cost and time to create the surveillance disease website may take quite a lot of time and skill
  • Some people may have contracted the disease but did not report themselves. This causes the data to be inaccurate
  • Provide misleading messages if poorly constructed or misinterpreted

Real life application[edit]

  1. Mapping of the COVID-19 has helped people to notice how fast the virus is spreading. Compared to SARS and MERS, the novel coronavirus has spread strikingly fast: While the MERS outbreak took about two and a half years to infect 1,000 people, and SARS took roughly four months, the novel coronavirus reached that figure in just 48 days.[5] This information helps people to acknowledge how contagious the virus is and take proper precautions.
  2. Disease mapping has helped government to make decisions such as building of new hospitals to quarantine the patients of COVID-19.


  1. Enticott, Gareth; Mitchell, Andrew; Wint, William; Tait, Nigel (2018). "Mapping Disease Data: A Usability Test of an Internet-Based System of Disease Status Disclosure". Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 4: 230. doi:10.3389/fvets.2017.00230. ISSN 2297-1769. PMC 5760555. PMID 29354637.
  2. Gao, Sheng; Mioc, Darka; Anton, Francois; Yi, Xiaolun; Coleman, David J. (2008-02-25). "Online GIS services for mapping and sharing disease information". International Journal of Health Geographics. 7 (1): 8. doi:10.1186/1476-072X-7-8. ISSN 1476-072X. PMC 2277489. PMID 18298859.
  3. Waller, Lance A.; Carlin, Bradley P. (2010). "Disease mapping". Chapman & Hall/CRC Handbooks of Modern Statistical Methods. 2010: 217–243. doi:10.1201/9781420072884-c14. ISBN 978-1-4200-7287-7. PMC 4180601. PMID 25285319.
  4. "WHO | Maps and spatial information technologies (Geographical Information Systems) in health and environment decision-making". WHO. Retrieved 2020-03-04.
  5. "Mapping the novel coronavirus outbreak". ArcGIS StoryMaps. Retrieved 2020-03-04.

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