College of Veterinary Medicine at Illinois

U of I logo Department of Pathobiology

Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis Laboratory

Spatial Epidemiology, Disease Mapping and GIS

Life Cycle

The Geographic Information System and Spatial Analysis (GISSA) lab is located in the Department of Pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, at the University of Illinois. The mission of GISSA is to improve public health with geographic information science. Our research focuses on the spatial epidemiology of diseases. We create spatial databases, carry out statistical analyses, and provide help with GIS implementation. We also perform workshops geared toward teaching the use of GIS software for analyzing and improving public health.

News and Events

Prediction of Mosquito Infection with West Nile Virus in Chicago, IL for 2014

As we have done for the past 4 years, we estimate mosquito infection with statistical models that use rainfall and temperature in northeastern Illinois. Based on our work, we have considered why some years have higher infection rates than others. Also, we can estimate future infection rates based on weather data from past weeks.


The Focal Point Program: IBEMEA - a graduate student program on infectious disease and water resources

Integration of Biological, Epidemiological, Mathematical and Engineering Approaches to the Management of Mosquito-Borne Disease: An Interdisciplinary Global Challenge


Paper published on unattended swimming pools in post-Katrina New Orleans

Geographic assessment of unattended swimming pools in post-Katrina New Orleans, 2006-2008. The paper can be found here.


Paper published on larval mosquito abundance in catch basins in Chicago

Terrestrial vegetation and aquatic chemistry influence larval mosquito abundance in catch basins, Chicago, USA. The paper can be found here.


Paper published on white-tailed deer population management

Evaluation of a wild white-tailed deer population management program for controlling chronic wasting disease in Illinois, 2003-2008. The paper can be found here.


Spring 2013 Course

Health Applications of Geographic Information Systems CHLH/GEOG/PATH 439
Learn about spatial data, making maps and how to apply GIS to problems related to health – from improving the environment, mapping disease and studying access to facilities.


Congratulations to Imelda Moise, PhD!

She has successfully defended her dissertation Health risk differentials: implications of neighborhood conditions on various health outcomes in New Orleans, 2004-2009.


Heat, rainfall affect pathogenic mosquito abundance in catch basins

Allie Gardner was the lead author on the paper Weather Variability Affects Abundance of Larval Culex (Diptera: Culicidae) in Storm Water Catch Basins in Suburban Chicago" published in Journal of Medical Entomology. See story in Inside Illinois.


Sign up now for Spatial Epidemiology offered in Fall 2012

Learn how spatial thinking, software, and analysis can improve population health through assessment of environmental conditions related to pathogen transmission and health outcomes. The course includes, lectures, readings, discussions, hands-on lab exercises, and a term project. We will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-4pm in rooms VMBSB 2506 and 2281.


Flu at the Zoo

The GISSA lab is participating in the planning and execution of the USDA funded project "Flu at the Zoo", a tabletop exercise to improve preparedness for the potential introduction of a a new virus at a zoo. Stakeholders from zoos in the Midwest along with people from public health, agriculture, wildlife management and the poultry industry will participate. The GISSA group is helping with maps and a spatial perspective on the problem.


NEW CLASS for Fall 2011 - One Health Epidemiology Readings Discussion Seminar

In this readings discussion group, we will investigate both foundational and emerging topics in epidemiology from an interdisciplinary, One Heatlh, perspective – taking into consideration human, animal and environmental health.


Paper published on human risk of West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus in the Greater Chicago Area:  A geographic examination of human illness and risk from 2002 to 2006. The paper can be found here.


GISSA Lab Begins Work With ASPCA to Reduce Pet Overpopulation

The Geographic Information System and Spatial Analysis Laboratory (GISSA) at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine will provide assistance to the ASPCA to reduce intakes to local shelters through mapping and focused analysis of spatial data on intakes and S/N activities.