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Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
What GIS Is
A picture is worth a thousand words. GIS, or Geographic Information Systems, provides that picture in the form of a map to broaden understanding of intricate health issues.

GIS technology displays layered data on disease, deaths, and behaviors by time and place, integrating complex data for better interpretation. For example, environmentalists can pinpoint the location of hazardous waste sites and wellheads to see if water supplies might be threatened. The spatial element GIS provides is key to deciphering the complex causes of many public health problems.

Importance to Health
Used initially by government and industry, GIS has become an essential tool for environmental studies and decision-making. GIS applications mushroomed during the 1990s and are having a fundamental impact on the way public health issues are approached.

The GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Program uses highly advanced computer mapping and database integration of environmental and health data to assist in identifying, locating and plotting information. The GIS Program is continually building a database to enhance multi-variant analysis and visual presentation. Visually displayed data make a significant impact on department planning and decision-making.