Spatial video geonarratives and health: Case studies in post-disaster recovery, crime, mosquito control and tuberculosis in the homeless

Andrew Curtis, Jacqueline W. Curtis, Eric Shook, Steve Smith, Eric Jefferis, Lauren Porter, Laura Schuch, Chaz Felix, Peter R. Kerndt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Background: A call has recently been made by the public health and medical communities to understand the neighborhood context of a patient's life in order to improve education and treatment. To do this, methods are required that can collect "contextual" characteristics while complementing the spatial analysis of more traditional data. This also needs to happen within a standardized, transferable, easy-to-implement framework. Methods: The Spatial Video Geonarrative (SVG) is an environmentally-cued narrative where place is used to stimulate discussion about fine-scale geographic characteristics of an area and the context of their occurrence. It is a simple yet powerful approach to enable collection and spatial analysis of expert and resident health-related perceptions and experiences of places. Participants comment about where they live or work while guiding a driver through the area. Four GPS-enabled cameras are attached to the vehicle to capture the places that are observed and discussed by the participant. Audio recording of this narrative is linked to the video via time stamp. A program (G-Code) is then used to geotag each word as a point in a geographic information system (GIS). Querying and density analysis can then be performed on the narrative text to identify spatial patterns within one narrative or across multiple narratives. This approach is illustrated using case studies on post-disaster psychopathology, crime, mosquito control, and TB in homeless populations. Results: SVG can be used to map individual, group, or contested group context for an environment. The method can also gather data for cohorts where traditional spatial data are absent. In addition, SVG provides a means to spatially capture, map and archive institutional knowledge. Conclusions: SVG GIS output can be used to advance theory by being used as input into qualitative and/or spatial analyses. SVG can also be used to gain near-real time insight therefore supporting applied interventions. Advances over existing geonarrative approaches include the simultaneous collection of video data to visually support any commentary, and the ease-of-application making it a transferable method across different environments and skillsets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22
JournalInternational Journal of Health Geographics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 8 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Part of this paper was supported by: CDC-LA County Public Health-USC 2012–2015 Community approaches to reducing STDs (CARS).

Funding Information:
National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs Award No. 2013-R2-CX-0004, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice. The authors also wish to thank the students of the GIS Health and Hazards Lab at Kent State University who have helped with data collection and transcription.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Curtis et al.


  • Context
  • Crime
  • Geographic information system (GIS)
  • Global positioning system (GPS)
  • Mosquito control
  • Narrative
  • Post-disaster recovery
  • Spatial video geonarrative (SVG)
  • Tuberculosis


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