Penn State GeoVISTA Center

This material is based upon work supported by the National Institutes of Health under Grant # R01 CA95949-01

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Institutes of Health or the National Cancer Institute.


The core aim that this research addressed was to develop, implement, assess, and disseminate the next generation of cross-platform, visually-enabled geospatial analysis methods and tools to support public health research and policy directed to cancer etiology, surveillance, and control. Specific attention was given to methods and tools that enable researchers and analysts to explore and analyze geographic characteristics of cancer incidence and mortality and their relationships to population demographics, behavioral risk factors, and access to public health resources. The core research was complemented in the final 18 months of the project with a dissemination supplement to develop the Geovisual EXplication Portal (G-EX Portal), a prototype web portal for dissemination and collaboration.

Key results from the research include:

  • a comprehensive understanding of the analytical process of those for whom the methods and tools are being developed;
  • advances in geovisualization and spatial analysis methods and tools relevant to cancer etiology, surveillance, and control - particularly focused on the integration of visual, statistical, and computational methods to support a systematic process of data exploration and analysis;
  • new spatial cluster detection techniques that will help cancer control analysts rapidly identify possible clusters of cancer incidence or mortality;
  • insights on what makes such methods and tools both usable and useful in the context of cancer data analysis, and on what the impediments are to usability and utility;
  • a framework for developing robust, open source geovisualization and spatial analysis software plus a suite of working software that we will continue to disseminate and improve upon beyond this grant;
  • an approach to, and prototype for, a suite of Web 2.0 dissemination and collaboration tools focused on building a community of knowledgeable geovisualization and spatial analysis users;
  • a growing set of learning artifacts that are designed to help users apply the methods and tools effectively.