- Importance of public health research,
- Current trends in the field of GIS, especially Web GIS
- GIS Applications in Medical Geography – Tools & Technologies,
- Spatial Epidemiology: Current Trends and Future Challenges
Figure 1: Population growth rate (1991-01)
An important index of population concentration is its density measured as number of persons per square kilometer.
According to world development report (2000-01) of World Bank, the world average is 46 persons per sq km and for low-income countries the average is 73. A thematic map (Figure 2) using GIS shows that Delhi tops with 9294 occupying one square kilometer area. Population density is a good indication for overcrowding especially in cities
Figure 2: Population Density (2001) Persons per Sq. Km
A dot density thematic of population density growth factor between 1991 and 2001 (Figure 3) shows the drastic change in the density in Delhi and adjoining states where the growth factor is over 1.25 as evident from Figure 3. In Delhi about 3000 more people are occupying the same space in 2001 as compared to the year 1991. As the density of population increases the need for infrastructure increases. A case of expanding population and finite resources, calls for population stabilization so that undue pressure is not put on its natural resources to support the rising population.
Figure 3: Population Density (1991-2001) Growth Factor
Sex ratio is defined as the number of females per 1,000 males in the population. It is an important indicator to measure the extent of prevailing equity between males and females at a given point of time. It may be noted that India still has a low sex ratio of 933 females per 1000 males in 2001. In 1991, the sex ratio was 927. There has been a slight improvement, but compared to other countries the situation is disappointing. Important reasons to analyze sex ratio are to throw light on issues like neglect of the girl child; high maternal mortality; sex-selective female abortions and female infanticide. The tiger country is no exception but for Kerala and Pondicherry (shown in light green in Figure 4) where the sex ratio is just greater than unity (1058 and 1001 respectively).
Figure 4: Sex Ratio (2001)
Delhi is in such a sorry state of affairs with a sex ratio of 821 females per thousand males. Who knows? The recent events in the capital city that have tarnished the pro women image of India in the international society could be an indication of this skewed sex ratio. Instead of merely blaming female foeticide, a host of social, health and environmental factors need to be brought under the microscope, if the skewed sex ratio has to be set right.
Literacy is an important indicator of social development. A person who can read and write with understanding in any language is treated as literate. A quick analysis of the states of India using GIS shows that Kerala tops with 90.92 percent (Figure 5). But an analysis of the female literacy rate shows that in some of the states female literacy is not even close to fifty percent. A classic example is Bihar whose history boasts of seat of knowledge like Nalanda University however has an overall literacy of only 47 percent with a female literacy rate of 33 percent.
Figure 5: Literacy Rate (2001)
A quick thematic analysis to see if atleast 50% of the females are literate shows that out of 35 only 28 pass the 50 percent mark (shown in light green-Figure 6) and in 7 states/ union territories (shown as red in Figure 6) less than 50 percent of the females are literate. It is necessary to increase the female literacy rate for several reasons including better population control, increased female life expectancy, better childcare etc.
Figure 6: Female Literacy Rate (2001)
Urbanization is the increase in the proportion of people living in towns and cities. Urbanization occurs because people move from rural areas (countryside) to urban areas (towns and cities). Rural to urban migration is happening on a massive scale due to population pressure and lack of resources in rural areas. These are critical 'push' factors. The rapid pace of urbanization is inescapable and irreversible. It demands for increased utilization of the limited infrastructure in the cities. Failure to make note of this could lead to the break down of various infrastructure facilities, civic functions and depletion of natural resources like ground water in the cities. Delhi tops the list in terms of urbanization at 93.01percent. A grid thematic analysis clearly shows the urbanized areas by red spots (Figure 7).
Figure 7: Urbanization (2001)
Well we did hear what India had to tell us in the language of GIS on its state of affairs. The list of such GIS analysis in planning is really endless. GIS could not only be the possible key to unlock the latent problems in our cities and in our planning techniques but also the “key to unlocking a nations potential”. GIS could be the mirror that could reflect the state of the people contained in the cities of India. How they live? Where they live? What they do? More importantly the quality of life in the cities. GIS may not be the paragon of all virtues but it could be important as one of several measures for addressing the problems confronting the urban planners of today.
Of what use could be any technology if it cannot reach and benefit the common public suffering in the veritable concrete jungles, the so-called cities and the remote villages of India? It is a pity that it is not the people of the country who are starved but our planners and decision makers who are starved for want of information.
Multiplicity of institutions and duplication of data at various levels have marred the desired results. Most of the time is spent in making one department or the other as the scapegoat when the plans fail to give the desired results. Let us not get mired in history and "throw out the baby (GIS) with the bathwater". Constructive and creative suggestions are the need of the hour. Let us work towards finding ways and means of applying GIS for urban problems in a rational and a logical way.
Let the common man talk to our cities in the language of GIS. Let the common man understand what our cities, towns and villages have to say them. Let us empower them with Geospatial Democracy. Let them decide what the priorities are and let them make meaningful choices! A final thought: Let us empower the hoi polloi with the fundamental right to Geospatial Democracy before we hear the hoi polloi say: “Geospatial Democracy is my birth right and I shall have it !”
Thanks to Census of India for the data
GIS IS IN MY BLOOD!
1 GIS Analyst
Give Me Blood! I Promise You Freedom!! This was the call by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at a rally of Indians in Burma, July 4, 1944 during India’s struggle for independence. Now we stand in an IT dominant era with tech savvy society, where most things happen at the click of a mouse. Phone calls to friends and relatives with a great deal of anxiety are quite common during medical emergencies arising out of accidents or illness or other such medical conditions. Any help from unknown quarters comes as a big relief. But one is often caught scrambling during such critical times for much-needed information, the information regarding blood donors. Those looking out for blood donors during such medical emergencies would understand the nightmare of not getting the required information at the appropriate time. Everyday thousands of lives are lost for want of blood at the appropriate time. When lives are at stake, every second counts and words cannot describe the plight of the near and dear ones, running from pillar to post in locating the blood donors. Geography or GIS for that matter has never been so closer offering a helping hand in our day-today life. Though GIS is being applied for logistics in transporting the accident victims to the appropriate hospital from the accident spot, evidences are not available regarding applying GIS for blood donors and receivers. In the recent past, help is available on the net: http://www.indianblooddonors.com a Nagpur-based website founded by Khusroo Poacha, that has information on blood donors across the country.
This paper is a proof-of-concept for the City of Chennai, to show how GIS can be used to quickly locate the blood donors of the required blood group nearer to a given hospital location on a GIS based map of Chennai City. The proof-of-concept is a GIS map based interface, a linkage of database of the blood donors and the base map of Chennai City, thereby creating a searchable interface for those in search of blood donors. It also showcases how clustering techniques can be used along with GIS to reduce the precious time lost in prioritizing which blood donors to contact. Right information, at the Right time, in the Right form – GIS could be the possible way!
The objective here is:
To create awareness on the need to integrate GIS into the daily lives of the hoi polloi at various levels.
To show how GIS can effectively be used in a myriad of ways to locate the blood donors quickly at the critical hour, thereby saving valuable human lives.
Of what use could be any technology if it cannot reach and benefit the common public suffering in the veritable concrete jungles, the so-called cities and the remote villages of India? It is a pity that technologies such as GIS and many such applications do not see the light of the day!
A final thought: With such a GIS application in place, I am sure to say “GIS is in my blood…Give me GIS and I promise you blood !”