Use of GIS in Maryland Environmental Public Health

Min Qi Wang, John T Braggio, Betty J Dabney, Alice Fang Yan, Jed Miller, Rashid Malik, Valerie Agwale, Clifford S Mitchell


This paper describes the GIS functionalities and utility of the Maryland Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (EPHTN), developed by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The primary purpose of the EPHTN is to present data and explore relationships between environmental hazards and health outcomes.  The EPHTN collected many statewide disease and environmental factors that now include asthma, myocardial infarction, cancer, birth defects, low birth weight, children’s blood lead, ozone, and water quality. The EPHTN Website was developed using Google MapsTM application programming interface (API), ArcGIS Server 9.3.1.Web ADF for the Microsoft .NET Framework, and the Oracle 10g database on the Windows 2008 server.  The dynamic display of health results including counts, age adjusted rates, and 95% confidence intervals were introduced.  Users can query defined geographic areas on the GIS, and results are displayed in maps, pop-ups, tables, and graphics.  The EPHTN has become a valuable source of environmental public health data for the public, health professionals, researchers, and policy makers.

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