Geocoding and GIS analysis of displaced populations


  • Joshua R. Vest, MPH
  • Jessie Patton-Levine, BS
  • Adolfo M. Valadez, MD, MPH



Public health, disaster, evacuation, sheltering, geographic information systems.


Disasters resulting in mass displacement have ramifications for communities beyond the affected areas. Information on the community from which individuals were displaced may prove useful for government agencies and those providing assistance to the individuals fleeing the disaster. TIGER/Line® street centerline files and online mapping applications were used to produce geographic information on households displaced by Hurricane Katrina to Austin, TX. Overall, 88.2 percent of the displaced households were geocoded. Households were described according to census tract characteristics, New Orleans wards, and location within flooded areas. Combining geographic datasets is useful for planners in assessing the needs of displaced populations. Data access was not a barrier to a high match rate, and current Internet-based technology may be utilized to overcome potential unfamiliarity with disaster stricken locations.

Author Biographies

Joshua R. Vest, MPH

Austin/Travis County Health & Human Services Department, Austin, Texas.

Jessie Patton-Levine, BS

Austin/Travis County Health & Human Services Department, Austin, Texas.

Adolfo M. Valadez, MD, MPH

Austin/Travis County Health & Human Services Department, Austin, Texas.


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How to Cite

Vest, MPH, J. R., J. Patton-Levine, BS, and A. M. Valadez, MD, MPH. “Geocoding and GIS Analysis of Displaced Populations”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 5, no. 4, July 2007, pp. 57-63, doi:10.5055/jem.2007.0015.