Spatio-temporal Analysis in Environmental Health: Respiratory Medication in Relation to Air Pollution and Deprivation

Paper submitted for INSPIRE 2010

Eleni Sofianopoulou, Stephen Rushton, and Tanja Pless-Mulloli

“Numerous spatial health data are collected by Primary Health Care that is provided by General Practices (GPs) in England. However their utility in environmental epidemiology is limited because they are not linked to environmental datasets. A main cause to linkage complexity is related to the fact that there are no formal boundaries that depict GP service areas, as patients can register to any GP practice of their preference. A second cause is the dissimilar spatial units that the environmental and socioeconomic data are provided in. As a consequence a source of environmental health information is under-exploited. We aimed to define a spatial unit that depicts a GP service area and examine whether the prescribing of respiratory medication per GP is related to air quality and deprivation observed within GP service areas. The two most common chronic respiratory diseases are asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Monitoring their prevalence, risk factors and determinants is an important public health task in developing and developed countries. In England, short-acting β2-agonists is the most often prescribed medication for asthma and COPD , 93% of which is represented by salbutamol. We aimed to investigate the monthly salbutamol prescribing rate in relation to Particulate matter (PM10), traffic flows and deprivation (income, education, employment). The aim of this study is quite timely as it covers the objectives of policies relevant to exploitation of spatial data and re-use of public sector data. This study both utilises existent spatial datasets as well as re-use information from the National Health System (NHS) and Local Authorities, in a neoteric way.”

The Experience of Realizing a Semantic Web Urban Computing Application

Transactions in GIS, Volume 14, Number 2, April 2010

Emanuele Della Valle, Irene Celino, and Daniele Dell’Aglio

“Urban Computing is a branch of Pervasive Computing that investigates urban settings and everyday lifestyles. A large quantity of information to develop pervasive applications for urban environments is often already available, even if scattered and not integrated: maps, points of interest, user locations, traffic, pollution, and events are just a few examples of the digitalized information which we can access on the Web. Applications for mobile users that leverage such information are rapidly growing. In this article, we report our experience in addressing practical computational issues influencing the use of Geographic Information Systems and geospatial data from the standpoint of semantics and pervasive computing. We refer to the early achievements of the LarKC project, in which we developed an Urban Computing demonstrator. We highlight the positive sides of our experience and we discuss open issues and possible advances.”

Saving Saba Bank: Policy Implications of Biodiversity Studies

PLoS ONE 5(5): May 21, 2010

Paul C. Hoetjes and Kent E. Carpenter

“Saba Bank has always been an area of special importance to the neighboring island of Saba in the Netherlands Antilles. Sabans traditionally fished on the Bank as far back as 1907, but increasing foreign fishing pressures on the Bank in the 1970s and 1980s forced many Saban fishermen out. Concerns were compounded by the suspicion that shipping was also damaging the benthic habitat of the bank. Fishery legislation, enacted in 1996, brought an end to unlicensed fishing and established Coast Guard enforcement on the Bank, but also led to protests from neighboring countries that previously fished on the Bank.

“Research was necessary to support the need for protection. Review of available research of Saba Bank and rapid biological assessments and fisheries surveys since 1996 emphasized the richness of Saba Bank’s biodiversity and the need for protection of fisheries stocks. The national nature policy plan recognized this and encouraged further research to base conservation measures on.

“Recent biological surveys of corals, fishes, and algae presented in this collection of articles emphasized habitat heterogeneity and the relative richness of the marine flora and fauna. These assessments formed the basis for a management plan to protect Saba Bank’s biodiversity and a draft proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) seeking Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) status for the Bank. The intention of the PSSA proposal is to protect the benthic habitat on Saba Bank from anchor damage. This paper serves to provide the context for the results of the recent biodiversity surveys of Saba Bank. It is hoped that this collection will serve as a knowledge baseline and engender further research in the area.”

Stress and the Designed Environment

Journal of Social Issues, Volume 37 Issue 1, Pages 145 – 171, Published Online 14 Apr 2010

Craig M. Zimring

“This paper focuses on ways that the design of the physical environment affects important individual goals, such as appropriate levels of social interaction and wayfinding and spatial orientation. A preliminary framework is proposed that suggests that the design of the environment causes stress by affecting person-environment fit. Next, the role of the physical environment in the regulation of social interaction and in wayfinding and spatial orientation is discussed. Finally, several suggestions for future research are presented.”