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GIS Database Development

Enterprise GIS

Many geospatial analyses at NCI include input data from many sources, such as mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics, data from the Census Bureau, and lifestyle data from CDC. We have compiled a database of commonly used geospatial data into an Enterprise GIS system for use by NCI DCCPS staff. This single database will provide staff with easily accessible current data in a consistent geography.

  • Goal: Provide comprehensive, consistent, easily maintained geospatial data for NCI division staff
  • Content: Cancer rates and trends; sociodemographic, medical resource, behavioral risk factor data
  • System architecture:
    • Visual Basic Form called from a VB .NET dll from within ArcMap
    • This program makes an internet call to a PHP program which retrieves data from Sybase database
    • Resulting text file is written to user's hard drive, joined to shapefile
  • A dialog that allows the user to specify certain characteristics of a map of cancer cases


  • A map of the United States, showing cancer cases according to the user's specifications
  • A dialog that allows the user to choose how to output cancer data

    Output: Map or Text File

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Geographic Information System for Breast Cancer Studies on Long Island

Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project: A Resource for Researchers and the Public

The Long Island Geographic Information System (LI GIS) is a GIS comprising data with statistical and spatial extensions. The LI GIS is designed to study the potential relationships between environmental exposures and breast cancer on Long Island. It also can be used to study other diseases.

Geographic Extent of LI GIS

Geographic Extent of LI GIS [D]

The LI GIS is one of a series of major studies and initiatives within the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project (LIBCSP), congressionally mandated activities to understand breast cancer incidence rates on Long Island. Researchers can apply online to use the entire LI GIS and/or the LI GIS statistical software and spatial extensions.

The LI GIS warehouse contains over 80 datasets covering:

  • Topographic;
  • Demographic;
  • Health outcome, including relative breast cancer incidence; and
  • Environmental data for Nassau and Suffolk counties, and to a lesser extent on surrounding counties.

Researcher's Toolbox

The LI GIS project makes use of a full suite of GIS software and extensions related to study of breast cancer.

  • Esri ArcGIS software suite
    • ArcView & ArcInfo
    • Spatial Analysis & 3D Analyst
    • Extensions for epidemiological studies:
      • Case File Formatter
      • Disease Rate Calculator
      • Areal Interpolator
      • Cluster Analysis Tool (using SaTScan)
      • Empiricial Bayes Tool
      • EpiAnalyst
      • S-Plus Spatial Stats
      • Geographic masking
      • SAS
  • Additional ArcView extensions and software
  • Oracle 9i
  • Online User's Guide
  • Screen shot of the arial interpolator program, an extension developed for LI GIS

    Example: Arial interpolator - interpolating zip code population from census tract population

  • Screen shot of the disease rate calculator, an extension developed for LI GIS

    Example: Disease rate calculator - calculating directly-adjusted rate for selected census tracts

  • Screen shot of the cluster analysis tool, an extension developed for LI GIS

    Example: Cluster analysis -- checking for clusters of sample cases in Suffolk County (SaTScan)

  • Screen shot of the enpirical Bayes tool, an extension developed for LI GIS

    Example: Empirical Bayes Tool – stabilizes data. Deals with small numbers issues for local data

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Related Collaborative Research by Surveillance, Epidemiology & End Results (SEER) Cancer Registries (Rapid Response Surveillance Studies)

The SEER program funds special research studies by its cancer registries on topics of interest to NCI and cancer registries in general. Recent studies related to geospatial methods are:

  • Development of high resolution population distribution data for cancer control
  • Assessment of the accuracy of geocoding by geographic scale, impact of errors on cancer rates

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