HEALTH GeoJunction: Place-time-concept browsing of health publications

Alan M. MacEachren, Michael S. Stryker, Ian J. Turton, Scott Pezanowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: The volume of health science publications is escalating rapidly. Thus, keeping up with developments is becoming harder as is the task of finding important cross-domain connections. When geographic location is a relevant component of research reported in publications, these tasks are more difficult because standard search and indexing facilities have limited or no ability to identify geographic foci in documents. This paper introduces HEALTH GeoJunction, a web application that supports researchers in the task of quickly finding scientific publications that are relevant geographically and temporally as well as thematically.Results: HEALTH GeoJunction is a geovisual analytics-enabled web application providing: (a) web services using computational reasoning methods to extract place-time-concept information from bibliographic data for documents and (b) visually-enabled place-time-concept query, filtering, and contextualizing tools that apply to both the documents and their extracted content. This paper focuses specifically on strategies for visually-enabled, iterative, facet-like, place-time-concept filtering that allows analysts to quickly drill down to scientific findings of interest in PubMed abstracts and to explore relations among abstracts and extracted concepts in place and time. The approach enables analysts to: find publications without knowing all relevant query parameters, recognize unanticipated geographic relations within and among documents in multiple health domains, identify the thematic emphasis of research targeting particular places, notice changes in concepts over time, and notice changes in places where concepts are emphasized.Conclusions: PubMed is a database of over 19 million biomedical abstracts and citations maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information; achieving quick filtering is an important contribution due to the database size. Including geography in filters is important due to rapidly escalating attention to geographic factors in public health. The implementation of mechanisms for iterative place-time-concept filtering makes it possible to narrow searches efficiently and quickly from thousands of documents to a small subset that meet place-time-concept constraints. Support for a more-like-this query creates the potential to identify unexpected connections across diverse areas of research. Multi-view visualization methods support understanding of the place, time, and concept components of document collections and enable comparison of filtered query results to the full set of publications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23
JournalInternational Journal of Health Geographics
StatePublished - May 18 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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