Journal of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry

: 2020  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 325--327

Use of geographic information system in dentistry

Jatin Chaudary 
 Department of Community and Family Medicine, AIIMS Rishikesh, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Jatin Chaudary
Department of Community and Family Medicine, AIIMS Rishikesh, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

How to cite this article:
Chaudary J. Use of geographic information system in dentistry.J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2020;18:325-327

How to cite this URL:
Chaudary J. Use of geographic information system in dentistry. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2020 [cited 2022 Sep 26 ];18:325-327
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Full Text

Dear Editor,

Geographic information systems (GISs) are computer-based tools used for the mapping and analysis of geographical data. The development of GIS and spatial analysis has helped in enhancing the accessibility of spatial data and in the study of epidemiology in a spatiotemporal dimension of the environment. GIS provides more insight into the understanding of the spatial distribution of patients affected by a certain disease by connecting individuals with the environment.[1]

It is interesting to explore the relationships between space and community health for a better understanding of the oral health/disease process. Geographic space is understood as an active environment, a receptor of social processes, and an activator of these processes. It is of fundamental importance to analyze the pattern of disproportion and spatial distribution of oral diseases for the allocation of resources to areas with the greatest social deprivation, leading to greater efforts to address the problems.

Among the emerging geoprocessing tools, GIS stands out as valuable technology in the exploration of the relationship of various oral diseases taking into account the hierarchy of complexity and multiple interactions between surroundings and individual. It provides with various spatial and network analysis tools to understand the locations where the problems occur with greater frequency and facilitate the process of planning, monitoring, and evaluation of oral health services.[2]

Recent studies show the use of GIS in epidemiological studies, providing important information with regard to the analysis of the geographic distribution of diseases; their associations with social, economic, and environmental factors; and pathogenic agents; as well as presenting the mechanisms of diseases. GIS-based studies are still infrequently used in public health, and even more rarely in dental studies in India. A more innovative approach using GIS should be used with proper training programs for dental professionals for observing the spatial distribution of oral diseases, as it can offer understanding, planning, monitoring, and allocation of health resources.[3]

[Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3] show the use of GIS to map the percentage of households using water with estimated fluoride levels (ppm) such as ≤1, between 1.01 and 1.50, and ≥1.51 above in different states and union territories using secondary data as provided by the National Oral Health Survey 2002–2003, India.[4] These choropleth maps were made using GIS software, ArcGIS 10.2.[5] It is easier to view the geographic distribution data such as the fluoride level data using such choropleth maps.{Figure 1}{Figure 2}{Figure 3}

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