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Solving for humans in crisis has been a recent rallying point in the health and human services professions. Issues such as homelessness, the opioid epidemic, health equity, racial inequities, and food insecurity have increased the public's awareness. People are stepping forward and looking for immediate ways to address these challenges. This call to action has been heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Place-based workflows enable organizations to respond to these priorities in crisis mode. GIS provides the framework to respond—organize data geographically, receive real-time updates, communicate information to stakeholders, deploy tactics and allocate resources where necessary, and keep decision-makers and the community informed.

Prepare for health emergencies

Health emergency preparedness involves extensive planning for a wide range of contingencies, including escalating operational support and shifting strategies that focus resources where and when they are needed most. GIS offers the opportunity to quickly understand the common operational picture and provide the tools to take the next steps to support decision-makers, better allocate resources, communicate and collaborate, and engage with citizens.

map with “My Hazard Information”

Track disease

Monitoring diseases and conditions that can cause serious public health threats is critical to building healthy communities. Tracking the source and spread of disease can be enhanced by adding location and demographics. Location data tells a more complete story that can help communicate patterns and provide insight into mitigating needs.

“Public Health Preparedness: A Geographic Approach”

Address the opioid crisis

The opioid epidemic constitutes a state of emergency in many places. GIS is a proven technology that benefits law enforcement, health organizations, and human services. Mapping and analyzing their data together clearly shows a crisis situation that requires local governments to look for insights, pinpoint the sources of the problem, and deliver effective response plans and allocation of resources.

“Celebrating lost loved ones” with map and photos

Reduce homelessness

The homeless crisis requires a modern, integrated, multidisciplinary approach. To beat this social problem, we must consider housing the homeless, reducing disease in encampments, connecting people to services, understanding the needs of communities of color, and identifying root causes. Location data connects these disparate factors. GIS provides a unique view into building effective policy and maximizing resources.

Homeless count dashboard

Combat vector-borne disease

Protecting the public from vector-borne disease requires proactively reducing, monitoring, and controlling vector populations. GIS provides a foundation from which you can support the end-to-end workflows—from identifying source points and dispatching crews and materials to performing analysis, informing management, and keeping the public up-to-date.

Mosquito service report

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Outreach to the vulnerable in Snohomish County


Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, data and smart maps are elevating human services in Snohomish County, Washington.

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Connect with the Esri health & human services team