Data requirements and considerations
GIS provide us with a unique
ability to understand the spatial and temporal context of disease outbreaks such as
Legionnaires' disease. However, the value of Legionnaires' disease outbreak is largely
determined by the availability, quality and consistency of relevant data. The following
sections discuss the specific spatial data requirements for Legionnaires' disease outbreak
investigation and also some of the more practical considerations that must be taken into
account in relation to spatial data management. It should be recognised that it may not always
be possible to collect data to the degree of detail outlined in this document, however where
possible the following data should be collected and stored within a GIS environment:
2.1 Case data
Data collected for each Legionnaires' disease case should include: locations visited (home,
work, etc.), time spent at locations, travel routes taken between locations, method of
transport, Legionnaires' disease typing data.
2.2 Potential outbreak source locations
Locations of potential outbreak sources should be collected such as cooling towers and other
aerosol emitting facilities.
2.3 Demographic data
Demographic data attached to administrative boundaries such as NUTS and LAU's, as well as gridded raster population
models, can be used to calculate Legionnaires' disease attack rates (including age-specific
attack rates) and relative risk to a population.
2.4 Meteorological data
Temperature, humidity, atmospheric stability, wind speed and direction can all be incorporated
into plume models attempting to model the dispersal of contaminated aerosols from potential
outbreak source locations.
2.5 Spatial data structure and interoperability
A number of factors such as data schemas, data format, and geographic projections can all
complicate the collection, sharing and analysis of spatial data.
The INSPIRE directive
aims to create a European Union (EU) spatial data infrastructure. This will enable the sharing
of environmental spatial information among public sector organisations and better facilitate
public access to spatial information across Europe.