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Why use maps to communicate a message?

 Maps are a compact and elegant method of communicating information. With a well-designed map, a reader should be able to quickly interpret the displayed information without assistance. Today, the most efficient and effective method of producing maps that communicate a message is with a computer-based Geographic Information System (GIS).

Maps and MEDRIX

MEDRIX staff teaches health care professionals how to use GIS maps to display health care data.  An Introduction to GIS class was taught by Zoom  in November 2021 by Robert Catherman. An Advanced Topic in GIS for Public Health Settings class was taught by Zoom in March, 2022. The Public Health participants in these classed were quick to learn GIS skills and eager to use GIS technology to display results of their research and projects. The next class will be taught in the fall of 2022.

Free GIS software and training curriculum

Because licenses for use of GIS software can be quite expensive, MEDRIX uses free open source QGIS software in our classes. In addition, MEDRIX-developed curriculum in English and Vietnamese is also open source. This curriculum teaches the GIS workflow beginning with how to download GIS software and maps and concluding with producing the finished map for printing or inserting in PowerPoint presentations. The curriculum is useful for teaching in the classroom setting or for self-study use by individuals to learn the basics of GIS.

Example of GIS map from the class

example map from gis class 2016

Good reading recommendation

The fascinating history of the beginning of the use of GIS in public health is told in the New York Time’s best seller book “The Ghost Map” by Steven Johnson, 2006. The story revolves around the cholera epidemic of 1854 in London and how Dr. John Snow used a map to change the world’s understanding of how cholera was spread.