SYNOPSIS: Maps are used to track diseases and illustrate the social context of health problems. However, commercial mapping software requires special training. This article illustrates how nonspecialists used Google Earth™, a free program, to create community maps. The Bronx, New York, is characterized by high levels of obesity and diabetes. Residents and medical students measured the variety and quality of food and exercise sources around a residency training clinic and a student-run free clinic, using Google Earth to create maps with minimal assistance. Locations were identified using street addresses or simply by pointing to them on a map. Maps can be shared via e-mail, viewed online with Google Earth or Google Maps, and the data can be incorporated into other mapping software.
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