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Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

Building GIS Capacity for Chronic Disease Surveillance

In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the GIS Surveillance for Heart Disease, Stroke, and Other Chronic Diseases in State and Local Health Departments Project. CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (CDC) works collaboratively with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) and the University of Michigan to build capacity within state and local health departments to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for the surveillance and prevention of chronic diseases.

The central objective of the training project is to enhance the ability of state health department staff to integrate the use of GIS-informed surveillance into daily operations that support existing priorities for preventing heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases. The project is intentionally designed to develop a GIS infrastructure that would serve a vast array of chronic disease areas, yet with a focus on heart disease and stroke. Public health professionals from state and local health departments learn to produce maps that are used for documenting geographic disparities, informing policy and program development, enhancing partnerships, and facilitating collaboration among chronic disease units.

See below for examples of how states are using GIS to address chronic disease surveillance and prevention.

Chronic Disease GIS Exchange

The Chronic Disease GIS Exchange is a Web site that serves as a community forum for sharing maps, training materials, and GIS resources. The site showcases maps that address chronic diseases and invites visitors to submit their own maps to the online map gallery.

Chronic Disease GIS Exchange Highlights Newsletters

GIS Exchange

An extension of the Chronic Disease GIS Exchange Web site, these newsletters are sent out periodically via e-mail to people interested in using GIS to support chronic disease prevention, treatment, and surveillance. To sign up for this newsletter, send an e-mail to

Chronic Disease GIS Snapshots

GIS Snapshots

These one-page fact sheets feature maps created by participants in the Chronic Disease GIS Surveillance training project. The snapshots describe why the map was created and how it is being used to support priorities within the health department.

Highlights Reports

GIS Highlights Reports

These Highlights Reports showcase the work of each participating health department. Three maps are presented for each health department, showing how they used GIS to document the burden, influence policy, and enhance partnerships. A separate Highlights Report was prepared for each cohort of health departments that have participated.