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GIS for Global Health: What a Difference 10 Years Makes

by on June 6, 2013

Guest post by John Spencer, Senior GIS Specialist for MEASURE Evaluation

As a geographer, I find the growth of geographic tools in the global public health field fascinating to watch. I started doing GIS work at MEASURE Evaluation in 1999. At that time there were many challenges one had to overcome to map data. For example, geographically linked data was often limited, and without a link to geography, data can’t be mapped. Another challenge during that time was the limited availability of GIS software. The software that was available was relatively expensive, and difficult to learn. These factors hampered many organizations’ capacity for using GIS as a means to map and communicate data.

Fast forward ten years. Data is more available now than ever and GIS software is more accessible. The last several years have seen several key developments:

Many countries are strengthening their spatial data infrastructures and making data available. We’ve seen these changes from the frontlines during MEASURE Evaluation Phase III. Since the Phase III began in 2008, MEASURE Evaluation’s geospatial capacity building and technical assistance (TA) activities have reached 450 public health professionals from over 45 countries.

GIS graphs together

Recently we reviewed the job categories of participants in MEASURE Evaluation capacity building efforts. We found a diverse mix of jobs and organizations. It seems clear geospatial tools are no longer the exclusive domain of dedicated GIS specialists. These tools have become a viable M&E option to program specialists, data managers, health officers and others. The GIS landscape has spread among many professionals.

2 Comments
  1. Dr. Rakhshanda Fazli permalink

    Reblogged this on Rashid's Blog.

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  1. 3 Examples of How Global Health Professionals Are Using GIS | Evaluate

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