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Cartography and Information Visualization

Very often, a picture truly is worth a thousand words. The Division produces a wide array of map and other information visualization products to help health policy makers, health care providers, researchers, and other stakeholders see relevant spatio-temporal patterns, distributions, and relationships. Division visualization products range from simple choropleth and population surface maps to multivariate small multiples and ring maps that show in a single graphic such multiple population and environmental characteristics as diabetes prevalence, persistent poverty, unemployment, rurality, and food availability.

Ring mapping is an innovative data visualization method that permits the display of multiple, spatially-referenced attributes in a single graphic. This ring map simultaneously depicts county-level HIV/AIDS incidence, poverty and unemployment rates, and a composite measure of social deprivation. The map shows that high HIV/AIDS incidence counties—shaded gray on the base map—also tend to have higher levels of socioeconomic disadvantage. Ring maps help organize and make sense of large volumes of spatial data, thus contributing to better spatial decision-making and more effective population health planning and evaluation.