Starter kit for geotagging and geovisualization in health care: Resource paper

Quan Do, David Marc, Marat Plotkin, Brian Pickering, Vitaly Herasevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Geotagging is the process of attaching geospatial tags to various media data types. In health care, the goal of geotagging is to gain a better understanding of health-related questions applied to populations. Although there has been a prevalence of geographic information in public health, in order to effectively use and expand geotagging across health care there is a requirement to understand other factors such as the disposition, standardization, data sources, technologies, and limitations. Objective: The objective of this document is to serve as a resource for new researchers in the field. This report aims to be comprehensive but easy for beginners to understand and adopt in practice. The optimal geocodes, their sources, and a rationale for use are suggested. Geotagging's issues and limitations are also discussed. Methods: A comprehensive review of technical instructions and articles was conducted to evaluate guidelines for geotagging, and online resources were curated to support the implementation of geotagging practices. Summary tables were developed to describe the available geotagging resources (free and for fee) that can be leveraged by researchers and quality improvement personnel to effectively perform geospatial analyses primarily targeting US health care. Results: This paper demonstrated steps to develop an initial geotagging and geovisualization project with clear structure and instructions. The geotagging resources were summarized. These resources are essential for geotagging health care projects. The discussion section provides better understanding of geotagging's limitations and suggests suitable way to approach it. Conclusions: We explain how geotagging can be leveraged in health care and offer the necessary initial resources to obtain geocodes, adjustment data, and health-related measures. The resources outlined in this paper can support an individual and/or organization in initiating a geotagging health care project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere23379
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Data visualization
  • Geographic mapping
  • Geotagging
  • Information storage and retrieval
  • Mapping
  • MedicalGIS guidelines
  • Population
  • Public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Starter kit for geotagging and geovisualization in health care: Resource paper'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this