A Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Notifiable Gastrointestinal Illness in the Northwest Terrorities, Canada, 1991-2008

International Journal of Health GeographicsInternational Journal of Health Geographics, Published 29 May 2012

Aliya Pardhan-Ali, Olaf Berke, Jeff Wilson, Victoria L Edge, Chris Furgal, Richard Reid-Smith, Maria Santos, and Scott A McEwen

“Background: This is the first study to describe the geographical and temporal distribution of notifiable gastrointestinal illness (NGI) in the Northwest Territories (NWT), Canada. Understanding the distribution of NGI in space and time is important for identifying communities at high risk. Using data derived from the Northwest Territories Communicable Disease Registry (NWT CDR), a number of spatial and temporal techniques were used to explore and analyze NGI incidence from the years 1991 to 2008. Relative risk mapping was used to investigate the variation of disease risk. Scan test statistics were applied to conduct cluster identification in space, time and space-time. Seasonal decomposition of the time series was used to assess seasonal variation and trends in the data.

Spatial relative risk function for NGI.

Spatial relative risk function for NGI.

“Results: There was geographic variability in the rates of NGI with higher notifications in the south compared to the north. Incidence of NGI exhibited seasonality with peaks in the fall months for most years. Two possible outbreaks were detected in the fall of 1995 and 2001, one of which coincided with a previously recognized outbreak. Overall, incidence of NGI fluctuated from 1991 to 2001 followed by a tendency for rates to decrease from 2002 to 2008.

“Conclusions: The distribution of NGI notifications varied widely according to geographic region, season and year. While the analyses highlighted a possible bias in the surveillance data, this information is beneficial for generating hypotheses about risk factors for infection.”

Esri Supports USAID Crowdsourcing Event

Esri logoEsri will closely support the US Agency for International Development (USAID) at the agency’s first-ever crowdsourcing initiative to make international development data accessible and transparent. The initiative will kick off at the USAID Innovation Lab in Washington, DC, at noon on Friday, June 1, 2012, and continue virtually until Sunday, June 3. Esri will participate in the event and provide a platform via ArcGIS Online that USAID can use to openly map the data after the event.

During the event, interested individuals, including volunteers from the online technical communities Standby Task Force and GIS Corps, will structure data on certain USAID economic growth activities and then geocode the data. After the event, USAID will release the complete geocoded dataset in line with the agency’s commitment to make development assistance information more available. As part of this commitment, USAID will map this data on ArcGIS Online so that anyone can explore and analyze the data.

“The US government is committed to opening data and increasing aid transparency; this pilot is an example of this commitment,” said Eric Postel, assistant administrator for Economic Growth, Education and Environment at USAID. “By enabling the crowd to help us sort through and clean nonconfidential data, we are able to release information that we never previously thought was possible.”

Providing public access to this information increases the possible use and value that the data will provide to USAID’s many stakeholders. With an appropriate basemap and the addition of other content found on ArcGIS Online, such as world demographic information, organizations and citizens can create, save, and share maps and web applications. These will enable further discussion, analysis, and action about important development strategies.

“I am excited to continue partnering with my colleagues at USAID to improve communication and collaboration for development activities,” said Jack Dangermond, president of Esri. “Using ArcGIS Online, anyone can leverage this data to better understand the important work that is being done around the world to address social, economic, business, and environmental concerns.”

Join Esri in supporting USAID in this crowdsourcing event by signing up at http://tinyurl.com/USAIDCrowdSource. For more information on ArcGIS Online, visit arcgis.com.

[Source: Esri press release]