Where to Find Free Location-Based Public Health Data for GIS Projects

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When conducting GIS projects, it is often necessary to collect health data and variables, such as demographic data, environmental data, or behavioral data, to explain or predict health outcomes. However, many datasets available online are not in GIS formats. This article will explore a variety of sources for freely available health, environmental, and demographic data that can be used in GIS projects. Specifically, we will focus on two important websites: CDC Wonder and the Ohio Department of Health. By utilizing these resources, researchers can access valuable data to enhance their projects and gain insights into public health trends.

CDC Wonder

One of the most important websites for downloading health data with geographic location is CDC Wonder. To access this resource, simply search for “CDC Wonder” on Google and select the first link, wonder.cdc.gov. CDC Wonder provides a wide range of health data, including information on diseases such as AIDS/HIV, birth data, cancer statistics, mortality data, and morbidity data.

To download data from CDC Wonder, navigate to the desired category, such as “Birth” or “Mortality.” For example, if you click on “Birth,” you will find natality information from 1995 to 2017. Select the most recent data and explore the available options. CDC Wonder allows you to customize your output table based on factors such as maternal residence, average age of mother, average birth weight, and average pre-pregnancy BMI. You can also choose specific demographic characteristics or pregnancy history.

Once you have selected your desired options, click “Send” to generate the results. The data will be displayed on the website, and you can easily export it as a table by clicking on “Export.” Save the file in a designated folder, such as “Free_Data,” and open it in Excel to view the tabular format. It is recommended to export the data as a CSV file, which is compatible with ArcGIS formats.

CDC Wonder offers a comprehensive collection of health data that can enhance GIS projects. By exploring this website, researchers can access valuable information on health outcomes and demographic characteristics.

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Data Warehouse

Another important source of public health information is the Ohio Department of Health’s Data Warehouse. By searching for “Ohio Department of Health” on Google, researchers can access the ODH website (odh.ohio.gov), which provides various data and statistics related to public health in Ohio.

The ODH Data Warehouse offers a wide range of information, including birth and cancer incidence data, mortality data, population data, lead data, and hazardous properties data. Researchers can access these datasets by selecting the “Data & Stats” tab and scrolling down to the “Ohio Public Health Data Warehouse” option.

For example, to download cancer incidence data, click on “Cancer Incidence Data” and navigate to the “Report” tab. From here, you can filter variables and export the data in CSV format. The exported file will contain information on cancer sites, age-adjusted rates, and cancer counts for each county in Ohio. This data can be easily imported into GIS software for further analysis.

Another valuable resource within the Ohio Department of Health is “Ohio One Source.” Researchers can go back to the ODH Data Warehouse and select “Ohio One Source” to access information on healthcare facilities across the state. The data is available in a point format and can be used to identify the locations of emergency medical services, hospitals, laboratories, and more. Researchers can filter the data based on specific criteria and export it as a CSV file. The file will include essential information, such as addresses, latitude, and longitude coordinates, which can be mapped and used for spatial analysis.

The Ohio Department of Health’s Data Warehouse and Ohio One Source provide researchers with a wealth of public health information specific to Ohio. By utilizing these resources, GIS projects can incorporate valuable data on healthcare facilities, disease incidence, and other population characteristics.


In conclusion, accessing location-based public health data for GIS projects is crucial for conducting accurate and impactful research. The CDC Wonder website offers a wide range of health data on a national level, while the Ohio Department of Health’s Data Warehouse provides comprehensive information specific to Ohio. By utilizing these resources, researchers can access data on diseases, birth and mortality rates, demographic characteristics, and healthcare facilities. This information can then be incorporated into GIS projects, enabling researchers to analyze spatial patterns and make informed decisions to improve public health outcomes.

By exploring and utilizing these free data sources, researchers and GIS professionals can contribute to the advancement of public health research and the development of effective strategies for disease prevention and healthcare planning. Always keep in mind the terms of data usage and adhere to data user restrictions, ensuring that the information is used responsibly and ethically.

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