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Information systems and databases

GIS [Geographic Information Systems]

Geographic information systems (GIS) are used for visualization, retrieval and analysis of spatial data. For thousands of years maps have been used for display and analysis of geographic information. GIS continues this tradition by other means.

Tasks of geographic information systems in animal control

GIS are mainly used for outbreaks of notifiable animal diseases. They support the veterinary officer in defining restriction areas, assessing the number of animal holdings and animals and planning control measures. GIS makes routine tasks easier, e.g. by enabling the establishment of sampling plans or herd statistics for a specified area.

Geographic analytical methods help to investigate the spatial and temporal spread of animal diseases and to describe the risks. The results of such studies can be used as basis for spatial simulation models which describe the spatial spread of the disease.

For some animal diseases, the environment plays a significant role in the development of spatial distribution patterns of the disease. Microclimate and habitat can enable or even exclude the occurrence of a disease. Investigations based on high-resolution geographic data, such as aerial or satellite images help to detect and understand the spatial distribution.

Current projects

  • GIS-data based risk assessment as function of the distance to a point source, taking primary outbreaks of European Swine Fever as an example
  • Epidemiological-geographic analysis of potential factors which influence the spatial distribution of wildlife diseases by means of GIS (Echinococcus multilocularis infections of foxes, swine fever of wild boar, rabies, Aujeszky’s disease of wild boar, Trichinella spiralis infections of foxes, trematode infections of foxes and sheep, Fasciola hepatica of cattle in extensive grazing husbandry)
  • GIS-based processing of telemetric data to determine homerange size, habitat use and migration behaviour of foxes in Eastern Brandenburg in cooperation with the Bundesforschungsanstalt für Forst- und Holzwirtschaft (BFH)
  • Deduction of spatial heterogeneity parameters from real landscape data for implementation into a raster-based simulation model for rabies
  • Adaptation of geographic analytical methods from human medicine and ecology for investigation of the spatial and temporal spread of animal diseases and implementation of the algorithms into a GIS tool
  • Development of explorative geographic analytical methods for data based on artificial boundaries
  • Spatial analysis of human cases of American Visceral Leishmaniosis and American Cutaneous Leishmaniosis in the state of Bahia, Brazil, in cooperation with the veterinary faculty of the University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.