Multidisciplinary Studies

The many research groups within Johns Hopkins make use of innovative technologies in geospatial analysis to provide novel exploratory studies. Among the various research projects undertaken, GIS research at Johns Hopkins includes studies in childhood obesity, malaria, international refuge relief, water resources, sustainability, and food networks. The following is a synopsis of the various studies currently undertaken in GIS-implemented studies.

The Environmental Surveillance for Malaria Research Initiative

The Environmental Surveillance for Malaria Research Initiative provides support for ecological and environmental data that relate to research activities associated with the malaria initiative. The core relies on current advances in information technologies, remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) to generate and manage the data. The goal of this web-based system is to provide updated, interactive and visualized environmental information of the African continent. This web-based information system, allows authorized users to search the database and view the data. Data are searchable either by location (country or station latitude and longitude) or by date (year and month). This information system integrates web technology, database system and geographical information system to provide convenient and instant access for disease control and related factors for researchers and policy-makers.

The Global Center on Childhood Obesity

The Global Center on Childhood Obesity is a specialized Center of Excellence for transdisciplinary, systems science-oriented, research and training that will seek to understand the multi-level, multi-factorial causes of childhood obesity, with the ultimate aim of developing innovative and effective means of prevention. The Center works to better understand the multi-level, multi-factorial causes of childhood obesity, with the ultimate aim of developing innovative and effective means of prevention. The Center is implementing a cutting-edge, cloud-based GIS infrastructure to deliver data visualizations, data sets, and publications to fellow researchers and the general public. The Center will integrate agent-based geospatial models to better understand children’s interactions with their available food networks.

The Center for Refugee and Disaster Response

The Center for Refugee and Disaster Response is an internationally recognized leader in building capacity to meet the physical and mental health needs of refugees and disaster victims worldwide. The for Refugee and Disaster Response trains leaders to better prepare for and respond to humanitarian crises while researching evidence to evaluate and enhance disaster preparedness to protect the health and lives of disaster victims in the US and around the world.

Center for a Livable Future

The Center for a Livable Future developed a food system mapping tool and database to examine the current landscape of Maryland’s food system from farm to plate, and inform activities aimed at strengthening that system. It includes farms producing food, processors, distributors, retail food outlets and institutions like schools and hospitals. The food system map is multi-dimensional, utilizing GIS technology that enables layered displays of graphically linked data, and integrate a variety of database resources. The Center for a Livable Future is also involved a partnership with the Baltimore City’s Office of Sustainability to generate a more comprehensive food desert definition and the release of the new 2012 Baltimore City Food Environment Map. This partnership builds upon the food desert mapping project undertaken by the Center in 2009, through the Maryland Food System Map Project.

Program on Global Sustainability and Health

The Program on Global Sustainability and Health examines energy use and its environmental consequences to link the burden of abandoned mine lands (AML) to community and individual health outcomes. The program uses GIS to create summary measures of the burden of abandoned coal mines in three dimensions: physical hazards, aesthetic qualities and toxic contamination. For example, the density of physical hazards and accessibility to toxic contamination is evaluated in relation to social disorganization, physical disorder and economic deprivation in communities, and then in relation to human health outcomes.

Global Water Program

The Global Water Program seeks to build a collaborative, multi-disciplinary program that provides research and education preparing professionals and students to be leaders in addressing water and sanitation issues worldwide. The Global Water Program uses GIS to develop solutions to domestic and international water challenges that are safe, scalable, and sustainable.