Disease Mapping: GIS Helps in Pandemic Preparation

…from Western Australia Today

“New technologies will allow corporations to gain a much better understanding of how a pandemic would affect the smooth running of their businesses. Interestingly, a technology known as geographic information systems being developed for use by modern corporations to understand where disease clusters are located has its origins in the 19th century.

““Disease mapping developed during the 1830s cholera outbreak in the UK. Post-epidemic, information from doctors about the number of cases that presented at their surgeries was collected, which was used to develop maps with dots representing cholera cases. The maps tracked the spread of the illness over time and clearly showed disease clusters around ports like Liverpool and Manchester, and also accounted for ancillary factors such as how the disease spread through the British canal system,” explains Francisco Urbina, manager of business development strategy at location intelligence company, ESRI Australia, which develops GIS solutions.

“Although GIS technology has come a long way since the mapping techniques used in the 1830s, the principles behind disease mapping remain the same.”