What does an LSHTM student do on their Easter Break?
More school, of course.
With our final two modules just completed, I find myself sitting back into the school bright and early Monday morning taking a two-day course on geographical information systems (GIS).
This might be the point in the story where you want to click onto the next page, hoping to avoid the description of the course that’s about to follow, but wait. It’s actually quite interesting.
Spatial patterns of health and disease have been greatly enhanced by recent technological advances, including geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing (RS) and global positioning systems (GPS).
The School’s been able to use spatial methods for: environment & health (including air pollution, effects of climate change on health and road injury), surveillance and geographical variations, and risk mapping of vector borne diseases such as malaria and helminths.
Chris Grundy, the instructor of the course, is currently using remote imagery taken from satellites, for population estimation. He’s also looked at how Non-Governmental Organizations can use GIS software to help health professionals in their work.
His experience and passion shows as he takes us through lectures and lets us practices for both the Monday and Tuesday, teaching us the basics of how to use the software. By the end of the course, we’re able to take data and turn them into color-coded, easy to read maps which make our data far easier to understand.
The School offers way more extra courses (like this one), lectures and seminars than you could ever take in a one-year Masters. You can only try and engage in those that you find the most interesting.
I took the spatial analysis course out of my summer project which will be in Thailand (pending ethics approval, fingers crossed) assessing the availability of a tuberculosis drug on the informal market. I plan to map out, using a GIS platform, where the drug will be available in four separate districts.
For me, the course will be incredibly helpful – both for having the basic knowledge to tackle my summer project and for the future job opportunities that may require a working knowledge of the software.
Chris will be running the introduction to GIS at several points over the summer and further details can be found by contacting him directly.