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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: GIS and Spatial Analytics for Health (PGGE11272)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course provides an introduction to the concepts, methods and practical skills of spatial analysis used for health research. These will be taught through lectures and practical work.

Course description Geographical aspects of health and healthcare are an important part of public health research and practice. Recent years have seen rapid growth in applications of GIS and spatial analysis in health research. This 'spatial turn' is in line with increasing availability of spatial health related data and demands from public health authorities in health governance. Using GIS in health systems and policy is essential to discover the spatial pattern of disease, infer causes of disease, and inform policy and potential interventions.

This module aims to introduce theories, methods, and practical skills of GIS and spatial analysis in health and healthcare. It will focus on the application of GIS and spatial analysis techniques to quantitative epidemiological research questions and public health intelligence work. The provision of health care is highly complex and is aided by a better understanding of the role of environmental factors, individual and collective behavioural responses and predisposing conditions on health effects and outcomes as explored through geographical analysis of health and health behaviour.

The role of GIS and spatial analysis will be introduced in 5 analytical areas: the mapping of health data; analysis of spatial clustering in health events; measuring and modelling exposure to risk factors, evaluation of health inequalities, and spatial access to health care and social care. This course has been designed to mix lectures and practicals together providing hands-on opportunities for students to learn the methods and skills in analysis in addition to understanding of the key concepts of health analysis.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100%

Project 1: Socio-spatial patterning of exposure to tobacco retailing, 2000 words group report, 40%; 400 words individual reflection, 10%
Set: week 2, Due: Week 7

Project 2: Ecological analysis of COVID-19, 2000 words report, 50%
Set: week 6, Due: Week 12
Feedback Students will be given feedback on a formative assessment and summative assessments within three weeks of submission
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand characteristics of geospatial health data
  2. Understand the main theories and methods for disease mapping
  3. Understand the theories and methods for hotspots of disease clustering
  4. Understand the spatial data types, issues with spatial analysis and be familiar with a variety of methods of spatial inferential analysis in health research
  5. Be able to implement the methods using ArcGIS and special software packages
Reading List
Armstrong, M.P., Rushton, G. and Zimmerman, D.L., 1999. Geographically masking health data to preserve confidentiality. Statistics in medicine, 18(5), pp.497-525.
Biggeri, A., Barbone, F., Lagazio, C., Bovenzi, M. and Stanta, G., 1996. Air pollution and lung cancer in Trieste, Italy: spatial analysis of risk as a function of distance from sources. Environmental health perspectives, 104(7), pp.750-754.
Bonita, R., Beaglehole, R., Kjellstrom, T. (2006) Basic epidemiology, 2nd Ed. World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland. Pp 219.
Cromley, E.K. & McLafferty, S.L. (2012) GIS and Public health. 2nd Edition. Guilford Press. New York. pp 503. ISBN 978-1-60918-750-7.
Elliott, P., Wakefield, J.C., Best, N.G. and Briggs, D.J. eds., 2000. Spatial epidemiology: methods and applications (Vol. 15). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Exeter, D., Boyle, P.J., Feng, Z., Flowerdew, R. and Scheirloh, N., 2005. The creation of'consistent areas through time'(CATTs) in Scotland, 1981-2001. Gatrell, A.C. and Löytönen, M., 1998. GIS and health research: an introduction. In GIS and Health (pp. 21-34). CRC Press.
Gatrell, A.C. and Elliott, S.J., 2014. Geographies of health: An introduction. John Wiley & Sons. Gatrell, A. and Senior, M., 1999. Health and health care applications. Geographical Information systems: Principles, techniques, applications and management. Haining, R.P. 2003. Spatial data analysis: theory and practice. Cambridge University Press. Jerrett, M., Burnett, R.T., Beckerman, B.S., Turner, M.C., Krewski, D., Thurston, G., Martin, R.V., van Donkelaar, A., Hughes, E., Shi, Y. and Gapstur, S.M., 2013. Spatial analysis of air pollution and mortality in California. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 188(5), pp.593-599. Luo, W. and Qi, Y., 2009. An enhanced two-step floating catchment area (E2SFCA) method for measuring spatial accessibility to primary care physicians. Health & place, 15(4), pp.1100-1107. Norman, P., Rees, P. and Boyle, P., 2003. Achieving data compatibility over space and time: creating consistent geographical zones. International journal of population geography, 9(5), pp.365-386. Norman, P., Boyle, P., Exeter, D., Feng, Z. and Popham, F., 2011. Rising premature mortality in the UK¿s persistently deprived areas: Only a Scottish phenomenon?. Social science & medicine, 73(11), pp.1575-1584.
Pearce, J., Cherrie, M., Shortt, N., Deary, I. and Ward Thompson, C., 2018. Life course of place: A longitudinal study of mental health and place. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 43(4), pp.555-572
Peiffer, D., Robinson, T.P., Stevenson, M., Stevens, K.B., Rogers, D.J. and Clements, A.C., 2008. Spatial analysis in epidemiology (Vol. 142, No. 10.1093). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Richardson, D.B., Volkow, N.D., Kwan, M.P., Kaplan, R.M., Goodchild, M.F. and Croyle, R.T., 2013. Spatial turn in health research. Science, 339(6126), pp.1390-1392. Ruiz, M.O., Tedesco, C., McTighe, T.J., Austin, C. and Kitron, U., 2004. Environmental and social determinants of human risk during a West Nile virus outbreak in the greater Chicago area, 2002. International Journal of Health Geographics, 3(1), p.8.
Schuurman, N., Peters, P.A. and Oliver, L.N., 2009. Are obesity and physical activity clustered? A spatial analysis linked to residential density. Obesity, 17(12), pp.2202-2209. Shortt, N.K., Rind, E., Pearce, J., Mitchell, R. and Curtis, S., 2018. Alcohol risk environments, vulnerability, and social inequalities in alcohol consumption. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 108(5), pp.1210-1227.
Wheeler, D.C., 2007. A comparison of spatial clustering and cluster detection techniques for childhood leukemia incidence in Ohio, 1996¿2003. International Journal of Health Geographics, 6(1), p.13

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will provide the students with a range of highly marketable skills and introduce them to methods sought after by employers. These analytical skills are highly valuable in the job market that are identified by our Industrial External Examiner, professional bodies and graduate feedback. The students also obtain skills in logical thinking, project work, organisation and report-writing.

Special Arrangements This course is open to postgraduate and undergraduate students in the School of Geosciences. Undergraduate Geography students wishing to enrol should have passed Principles of GIS GEGR10137.

Postgraduate students from other Schools should contact the Course Organiser and Course Administrator to check suitability and availability.
Additional Class Delivery Information Practicals and Lectures
Lectures: Thursday 2-4pm
Practicals: Thursday 4-6pm.

Course location: Geography (Old Infirmary), Drummond Street, GOI_2.13 (lecture) GOI_1.26 (practical)
KeywordsGIS,spatial analysis,clustering,environmental factors,health inequalities
Course organiserDr Zhiqiang Feng
Tel: (0131) 242 6374
Course secretaryDr Beata Kohlbek
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