The aim of the course is to provide participants with the necessary knowledge and skills enabling them to use of GIS as a tool for improved planning and performance of disease control. Special attention is given to data-management requirements and how routine program data incorporated into GIS system can be effectively utilized to strengthen program management. Participants will be introduced to space-time analysis of epidemiological data, risk mapping, and geospatial access analysis.

This module is an online learning course. The facilitation of the learning experience is conducted exclusively via a Moodle-based virtual learning environment (, which will contain all learning materials. An interaction between learners and the lecturer will be through e-communication (using the KIT Virtual Grounds and other tools such as Skype).


At the end of the module the participants should be able to:

  • Explain the purpose and demonstrate the value of GIS and spatial data to disease control programs
  • Operate a GIS and apply basic cartographic techniques to visualize health data
  • Produce, interpret and evaluate health maps
  • Describe and interpret spatial patterns of health indicators and epidemiological data (spatial randomness vs clustering)
  • Apply and evaluate the appropriateness of GIS methods to quantify the coverage of disease control programs
  • Identify requirements for successful implementation of GIS tools in public health


Geographic data and geographic information systems are increasingly being recognized as an essential tool to assess trends in disease occurrence. Mapping health inequalities enable program managers and policy makers to plan targeted interventions and to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of disease programs. This course will be offered as an online course providing theoretical lectures, practical exercises and case studies covering the key concepts of GIS, spatial analysis, and techniques for the dissemination of analytical results for decision support in public health.

The course consist of three phases:

During the first phase students will be trained to obtain knowledge of core concepts and theoretic principles required when mapping and analyzing spatial data:

  • basic GIS theory and principles including spatial data formats
  • spatial data management
  • introduction to ESRI ArcGIS software package
  • visualization and cartographic concepts
  • geographic coordinate systems and projections
  • creation of different types of maps
  • geoprocessing; creation of buffers exercise with distance and context operators

The second phase will provide the opportunity to apply and extend the GIS skills that have been learned into a public health context. The course will address specific problems in the field of planning and evaluate disease control programs and space-time analyses of health data.

During the last phase, students will work on personal assignments which they will present to an exam committee (tutor + independent).

Guest speakers are invited to present applications for the use of GIS in disease control programs and research projects.

ESRI ArcGIS (ArcView)

The course will use ESRI ArcGIS. Participants will obtain a one-year student license of ArcGIS (ArcView).

Admission criteria

  • English proficiency equivalent to IELTS of 6.0 OR TOEFL 580 in paper test and 237 in computer-based test
  • Relevant work experience in public/international health
  • Regular access to a computer and the internet (broadband) for the duration of the module
  • Basic computer skills, including using the world-wide-web
  • No prior exposure to GIS, nor practical skills in GIS are needed to follow this course
  • Students will get a login for the e-learning platform and a student license to GIS software

Program taught in:

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This course is Online
Start Date
Nov. 2019
3 weeks
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