Spatial filtering using a raster geographic information system: Methods for scaling health and environmental data

Mohammad Ali, Michael Emch, Jean Paul Donnay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Despite the use of geographic information systems (GIS) in academic research, it is still uncommon for public health officials to use such tools for addressing health and environmental issues. Complexities in methodological issues for addressing relationships between health and environment, investigating spatial variation of disease, and addressing spatial demand and supply of health care service, hinder the use of GIS in the health sector. This paper demonstrates simple spatial filtering methods for analyzing health and environmental data using a raster GIS. Computing spatial moving average rates reduces individual affects and creates a continuous surface of phenomena. Another spatial analytical method discussed is computation of exposure status surfaces including neighbors' influences weighted by distance decay. These methods describe how health and environmental data can be scaled in order to better address health problems. Spatial filtering methods are demonstrated using health and population surveillance data within a GIS that were collected for approximately 210,000 people in Matlab, Bangladesh.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalHealth and Place
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002



  • Environment
  • GIS
  • Health
  • Spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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