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Your Environment. Your Health.

Recent Developments in GPS, GIS, and Geospatial Applications in Measuring Environment as Related to Health

The NIEHS Exposure Science and the Exposome Webinar Series
January 30, 2018

Past Events

Recordings of past events are available on YouTube - Exposome.

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Literature on Exposome

View a list of publications related to the exposome in PubMed.


The NIEHS Strategic Plan places a significant emphasis on transforming exposure science through the development of new approaches to exposure assessment, the definition and dissemination of the exposome concept, and the development and demonstration of the exposome as a tool for both epidemiological and mechanistic research. In order to achieve this goal, NIEHS launched the Exposure Science and the Exposome Webinar Series on April 4, 2014 to foster discussions on international efforts in advancing exposure science and the exposome concept as well as challenges and opportunities in incorporating this concept in environmental health research.


Spatial technologies are playing a key role in research studies aiming to consider contextual and environmental aspects connected with health. A recent development is the combined use of Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to better measure patterns of access to and engagement with the environment. These combined technologies give more specific and accurate measurements of access and exposure than the use of GIS alone.

Exciting research has resulted with examples including measuring total daily access to specific types of environments with GPS data, evaluating the effects of built environment interventions and natural experiments, and the use of Smartphone sensors for monitoring environmental exposures and development of Just In Time interventions. With advances in research, new questions are emerging with the use of spatial technologies in exposome and health applications. What exactly are we measuring? What do we mean by context, exposure, and access? What are the data, technological, and computational infrastructure requirements to conduct this type of research? What are the ethical and safety implications of knowing where somebody is and what they are doing at all times? In this talk, Dr. Jankowska delved into these questions by providing an overview of the current state of using GPS and GIS technologies for measuring environmental exposure as related to health. She also discussed nascent technological advances including the use of additional sensor technologies beyond GPS, cyberinfrastructure and data considerations, as well as security and ethics implications.

Dr. Jankowska's full webinar.

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