DOI link for Introduction
Medical geography is a very active subdiscipline of geography which has traditionally focused on the spatial aspects of disease ecology and health care delivery. Until fairly recently, as was the case with most other geographic fields of study, medical geographers collected and analyzed their data using methods such as making on-theground observations (e.g., of malarial mosquito habitats) and drawing maps (e.g., of hospital catchment areas) by hand. With the advent of geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing (RS) technologies, computers which could handle large amounts of data, and sophisticated spatial analytic software programs, medical geography has been transformed. It is now possible, for example, to make many measurements from far above the earth’s surface and produce dozens of maps of disease and health phenomena in a relatively short time. This explosion of new capabilities, however, needs to be systematically organized and discussed so that researchers in medical geography can get to know what resources are now available for their use. In this book we set out to accomplish that task of organization and description.