Application of GIS Technology to Primary Care Planning in Alaska (1996)

John M. Booker, PhD

Tracy Arras, MS


The public health sector is beginning to explore the benefits of analyzing, viewing, and reporting spatially oriented health data through Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS is a powerful computer tool that can provide spatial representation of key public health information. GIS can be a particularly effective tool for measuring distribution of existing resources, predicting trends for future need, and representing geographic barriers to health care access.


This project, conducted by ICHS in 1996, was designed to evaluate the feasibility and application of GIS technology to Alaska health care planning, especially in the planning for rural primary care services throughout the State. The project also assessed leading personal computer GIS and desktop mapping software programs that could be utilized for health care GIS projects.


Specific objectives included:


  • Application of GIS technology to results of the Primary Care Provider Survey (1995) and demonstration of the utility of this approach for addressing health planning in the State.
  • An assessment of two or more PC software platforms for GIS.
  • A cost-benefit analysis of two or more PC software platforms for implementation within state agencies.


For more information on GIS and primary care planning in Alaska please see our report on Primary Care Access for Low-Income Women and Children in Alaska


These findings can be obtained directly from ICHS or the University of Alaska Anchorage Consortium Library.