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Balancing geo-privacy and spatial patterns in epidemiological studies

Chien-Chou Chen, Jen-Hsiang Chuang, Da-Wei Wang, Chien-Min Wang, Bo-Cheng Lin, Ta-Chien Chan
  • Chien-Chou Chen
    Center for Geographic Information Science, Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
  • Jen-Hsiang Chuang
    Centers for Disease Control, Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
  • Da-Wei Wang
    Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
  • Chien-Min Wang
    Center for Geographic Information Science, Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei; Department of Geography, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
  • Bo-Cheng Lin
    Center for Geographic Information Science, Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
  • Ta-Chien Chan
    Center for Geographic Information Science, Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China | dachianpig@gmail.com

Abstract

To balance the protection of geo-privacy and the accuracy of spatial patterns, we developed a geo-spatial tool (GeoMasker) intended to mask the residential locations of patients or cases in a geographic information system (GIS). To elucidate the effects of geo-masking parameters, we applied 2010 dengue epidemic data from Taiwan testing the tool’s performance in an empirical situation. The similarity of pre- and post-spatial patterns was measured by D statistics under a 95% confidence interval. In the empirical study, different magnitudes of anonymisation (estimated Kanonymity ≥10 and 100) were achieved and different degrees of agreement on the pre- and post-patterns were evaluated. The application is beneficial for public health workers and researchers when processing data with individuals’ spatial information.

Keywords

Geo-privacy; Geo-masking; Spatial epidemiology; D statistics

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Submitted: 2017-04-06 01:06:56
Published: 2017-11-08 11:07:43
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Copyright (c) 2017 Chien-Chou Chen, Jen-Hsiang Chuang, Da-Wei Wang, Chien-Min Wang, Bo-Cheng Lin, Ta-Chien Chan

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