Monday, April 27, 2009

Where is the Map Going?

Where is the Map Going? Well, pretty interesting places. The power of maps to communicate quickly and well to a very wide audience is a strength of GIS. When distributed (swiftly and conveniently) via the web, this information only increases in value for its timeliness. What's also interesting is the use of online maps to do the reverse as well; i.e. either continually connect to and summarise a variety of sources or allow people in many locations to pool their knowledge (crowd-sourcing) of an issue or event.

Here are a few cases from and spun off of an interesting email from a MapAction colleague:

HealthMap - The global disease alert map, is a free service that "brings together disparate data sources to achieve a unified and comprehensive view of the current global state of infectious diseases and their effect on human and animal health". It's been particularly relevant today with the global alert about swineflu.

WikiCrimes - Allows citizens to "share crime information and keep safe". It's not run by the police but by allowing the citizen to map what they know, it compiles and shares useful crime data for use by society - a sort of Neighbourhood Watch online.

WikiMapAid - Another crowd-sourcing portal, this time with information about "poverty crises hotspots by capturing data about orphanage programs, drought, food, employment, education and training"... to "[map] solutions to poverty-oriented problems".

Monday, April 20, 2009

GIS and Access to Family Planning Services

Via the GSDI Mailing List: Using GIS to address disparities in access to family planning services and commodities in Latin America and the Caribbean (1.5MB PDF, Dec 2008) This paper demonstrates a methodology that Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) ministries of health can use to geographically identify and target scarce resources to improve access to family planning. Guatemala was chosen as a case study for implementing the methodology, in large part because of the disparities that exist between its different subpopulations. The results highlight the potential for applying this methodology in other countries in the LAC region.