2004 Health GIS Conference Proceedings Abstract


TOXMAP: A GIS Information Portal to Environmental Health Databases
Author(s):Marti Szczur, National Library of Medicine; Colette Hochstein, National Library of Medicine; Chris Krahe, Aquilent, Inc.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has an extensive collection of environmental health information including bibliographic and factual data on hazardous chemical substances in its TOXNET databases. TOXNET also provides access to the EPA Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data, which covers air, water, and land releases, as reported by industrial facilities around the United States. Built using ArcIMS, NLM has developed a Web-based system, TOXMAP, in which users can dynamically create maps that show where TRI chemicals are released and directly link to the appropriate chemical data records in TOXNET. By extracting the associated regional geographic terms from the displayed map (e.g., rivers, towns, county, state), TOXMAP also provides customized chemical and/or region specific searches to NLM's bibliographic biomedical databases resources.

This paper will focus on the design concepts, implementation strategy, challenges, and feedback from users. It will also address issues associated with data accuracy, the risk of data misinterpretation, and future directions.