Digital Scholarship: Applications of GIS in Society II

Last week we have introduced some use of GIS in visualizing different types of data.  In CUHK there are some researchers having used GI... thumbnail 1 summary

Last week we have introduced some use of GIS in visualizing different types of data.  In CUHK there are some researchers having used GIS in visualizing their research projects.  Here we will introduce a few examples.


Launched in 2006, this project was initiated by SPH Stanley Ho Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases and students from the Department of Geography and Resource Management.

The aim of SpatioEpi is to popularize the study of geographic distribution of health conditions, disease and environmental factors as they relate to the human population.  In fact they have produced many maps displaying spatial data on current issues, e.g. the recent (Dec 2016) smog in China: Smog the silent killer.

Walking Through Sheung Wan

The project is done by Prof. Sidney Cheung from Department of Anthropology.  It is a "knowledge transfer project" in which an anthropological perspective was used to show how the knowledge of  the local community about Sheung Wan is "transferred" to visitors "for a better understanding of Hong Kong".  It made use of 3 "vitural tours" to show people how the streets looked like with the scenes of all the shops in the street: Wing Lok Street, Ko Shing Street (selling Ginseng, dried seafood, etc.) and Bonham Strand West (selling Chinese herbs).

Daoist Digital Museum

Developed by Prof. LAI Chi-tim and his research team from Centre for Studies of Daoist Culture, the website is the first “Daoist Digital Museum” in the world.  They used WebGIS to display the geographical locations of the Daoist temples in Guangzhou, no matter they still exist or not, and embed them with images, videos, digital texts about the temples.  Their aim is to help "scholars of Daoism, Chinese religion and even historians interested in the city of Guangzhou to perform quantitative analyses of the geographic distribution of temples in Guangzhou and on their relationship with the surrounding socio-economic environment, changes in population and environment, by tracing the development of particular temples."

Sometimes when no GIS application can be used, spatial data can still be visualized in an interesting way.  A project from the I.CARE of CUHK used hand-drawing map to display the Sha Tau Kok town and its community facilities: 「社區探索 - 博群沙頭角長者服務計劃」(in Chinese only).

Although it does not involve the use of GIS software and application, and as a matter of fact,  Sha Tau Kok town is frontier closed area (FCA) and there is no street view available yet in Google map, the hand-drawing map will also enable people who have not been to the area before to have a basic impression about the town.  

GIS can be used in all subject areas, as it helps visualizing data with spatial aspect, and some powerful software can help performing analysis, which helps researchers in digging out important trends behind the data.