Disease mapping utilizes disease maps as visual representations of sophisticated geographic data that provide a general overview of the disease situation in a defined geographic area. Epidemiology is concerned with investigating the causes of diseases, and often, these causes vary in frequency and in space. This variation in space gave a niche to remote sensing to find its way into the public health domain as disease researchers sought to investigate the explaining environmental and climatic factors. Studies have demonstrated the potential offered by remote sensing application to disease mapping and epidemiology and to support surveillance and control efforts. We used some examples from a case study conducted in Eswatini in Southern Africa. Remote sensing imagery when combined with GIS spatial analyses techniques could support and guide existing disease surveillance and control programs at local, regional, and even continental scales. Researchers have also studied factors influencing the patterns and distributions of vector-borne diseases at a variety of landscape scales. However, successful application of remote sensing technology depends on the ability of nonexperts’ remotely sensed data and end users to access, retrieve, and analyze the data captured from satellites. The exploration of some of the opportunities presented by remote sensing to disease mapping and epidemiology is still unfolding as new opportunities are being presented.
Part of the book: Remote Sensing