Geographic Information Systems: Usability, Perception, and Preferences of Public Health Professionals

Awatef Ahmed Ben Ramadan, Jeannette Jackson-Thompson, Suzanne Austin Boren


Background: Analyzing and visualizing health-related databases using Geographic Information Systems (GISs) becomes essential in controlling many public health problems.

Objectives: To explore the perception and preferences of public health professionals (PHPs) about the usability of GISs in public health field

Methods: For this scoping review, the investigators searched Medline Ovid, PubMed, IEEE, Scopus, and GeoBase databases. A total of 105 articles were identified.  Nine articles met the inclusion criteria.

Results: Iterative evaluations, training, and involvement of GIS end users are productive in GIS usability. More methodologies are needed to support the validity of GIS usability studies. The exchange of GIS technology impacts public health policy and research positively.

Discussion: PHPs are aware of the use of GISs in the public health field, and the exchange of visualized health data in determining inequalities and inaccessibility issues.

Conclusion: GISs are essential to control public health problems, if the related health datasets are analyzed carefully and if the mapping reports are extensively evaluated and interpreted. 

Keywords:  Geographic Information systems, GIS, Public Health, Usability 

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Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *