Barriers to use of geospatial data for adaptation to climate change and variability: case studies in public health
AbstractThis paper presents two case studies of the barriers to the use of geospatial data in the context of public health adaptation to climate change and variability. The first case study is on the hazards of coastal zone development in the United States with the main emphasis on Hurricane Katrina. An important barrier to the use of geospatial data is that the legal system does not support restrictions on land use intended to protect the coastal zone. Economic interests to develop New Orleans and the Mississippi River, both over the long term and the short term, had the effect of increasing the impact of the hurricane. The second case study is epidemics of climate-sensitive diseases with the main emphasis on malaria in Africa. Limits to model accuracy may present a problem in using climate data for an early warning system, and some geographic locations are likely to be more suitable than others. Costs of the system, including the costs of errors, may also inhibit implementation. Deriving societal benefits from geospatial data requires an understanding of the particular decision contexts and organizational processes in which knowledge is developed and used. The data by themselves will not usually generate a societal response. Scientists working in applications should develop partnerships to address the use of geospatial data for societal benefit.
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Copyright (c) 2006 Joan L. Aron
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