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GIS is helping in both collecting the US census responses and then using this informationtohelpalleviateproblemsrelating topoverty,race,language,educationandother variables. Cities and urban areas are able to integrate these files with their own data sets. In many US cities, GIS is becoming a useful tool for public health. For example, in 2009, the Alaska Native Health Consortium published a GIS study analysing incidents of disease and injury. This technology allows the consortium to study the leading causes of death such as cancer, heart disease and injury in more complex and sophisticated ways. A comparative analysis of health disparities can be conducted. As well as identifying clusters of disease, GIS provides a mechanism for visually displaying statistics to the public. The Consortium’s Injury Prevention team also would like to map snow machine and four–wheeler crash data to improve safety in and around Anchorage. Kyla Hagan, Injury Prevention Program Manager said, ‘It would be really great of we could identify areas on local rivers where the ice is thin and has repeatedly cracked, causing snow mobiles and other vehicles to sink. We would love to map out thin ice danger zones to prevent further injuries.’ Water and sanitation With maps produced with Esri GIS technology, Glendale Valley Municipal Authority in California is able to quickly locate problems in its water network and plan for future renovations that will improve water quality and reduce groundwater infiltration to the sewage system. Theauthorityhasmappedbothitswater andwastewatersystem.Printedmapbooklets arenowavailabletofieldcrews,engineers, andcustomers.Thesemapsprovideabasis forgoodcommunicationbetweenEsri and thecountygovernment’sGISdepartment, ensuringbothentitiescankeeptheir databasescurrentandmutuallyconsistent. Infrastructure and citizen services When Canada’s ninth largest city, Hamilton, Ontario, amalgamated seven municipalities, it needed a new infrastructure management system to clarify and coordinate its diversified programs, services, vehicle movements and governance tasks. ThecityworkedwithIntergraphtodevelop an integrated enterprise–scale geospatial system that would provide a visual and networked approach for identifying and coordinatingcapitalworksprojects(especially roads, water and sewerage), ensure data accuracy,enablehistoricalreportingofvehicle locations and actions, and analyse customer servicerequeststoidentifypatternsandtrends. In Seattle’s Puget Sound area, development of the Bellevue–Redmond light rail corridor has been analysed using an integrated system of visual computing tools for urban planning analysis called Decision Commons, developed by the University of Washington’s Runstaf Center for Real Estate Studies. No matter how large or small cities are, they must deal with spatial information: parcel, zoning and land use data, addresses, transport networks, and housing stock. Cities across North America are facing these urban challenges through geospatial design and furthering their credentials as ‘data cities’. These technologies are transforming the way cities study and keep track of multiple urban and regional indicators, forecast future community needs, and plan accordingly to guarantee the quality of life for everyone in liveable communities. —By Jonathan Andrews and editors Below left and right: The Alaska Native Health Consortium is concerned with improving the lives of indigenous people living in polar ice conditions. 145 home REGIONAL SOLUTIONS NORTH AMERICA