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A practical software example

Case Study PHFI

As we’ve mentioned in step 1.4 we’ve interwoven information about the CARRS study throughout this week. In this article we will inform you on the software that we used and why.

For the CARRS – GIS study which aimed to study the relationship between Built Environment and Cardiometabolic diseases, we mainly used ArcGIS software and Google Earth.

There were several factors that influenced our decision to use the commercial package ArcGIS. Our decision was mainly based on the experience of the project staff with this software and functional requirements. Financial considerations were less important to us as the necessary software license could be obtained via the project budget.

Actually the factor that was most important for us while selecting the software was staff skills and experience:

  1. Several members of our team were already experienced in using ArcGIS
  2. There were many training opportunities for ArcGIS for new staff members

What was also important were the functional requirements. We wanted a software package that had all the functionality required for this project. We were not looking for a solution where we were integrating many different types of software but were looking for a single software package that allowed us to store our data in a structure way, and had good mapping possibilities. We knew that we wanted to control map projections and we needed to integrate layers and conduct measurements.

In order to relate cardiometabolic diseases and the environment, we needed to calculate for example the distance between a household and the nearest park or health care facilities and food and alcohol outlets but this could all be done within a GIS.

Usage of ArcGIS also made it easier to share and compare data among researchers. In our projects we often collaborate with other organisations and exchange of results (for example using Shapefiles) is easy using ArcGIS.

In addition to ArcGIS, we used Google Earth for planning the GPS data collection and verification of the collected data.

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This article is from the free online course:

Geohealth: Improving Public Health through Geographic Information

University of Twente

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