Community Mapping for Health Equity Overview

Welcome to the website. This website is maintained by the National Community Mapping Institute (NCMI): a unit of the Health Disparities Research Center of Excellence (HDRCOE) at Meharry Medical College. Community Mapping is a tool that uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to generate maps to tell a story about what is happening in our communities. The website was created to provide concerned persons with easy access to maps which can help:

  • visualize health disparities experienced by racial/ethnic minority groups and other medically underserved populations
  • better understand the relationships between environmental exposures and health disparities
  • provide access to maps, data and tools which can be used to promote community-level interventions

The National Community Mapping Institute (NCMI) is housed within the Health Disparities Research Center of Excellence at Meharry. The goal of the NCMI is to promote the use of community mapping, data visualization, and citizen science to address health disparities. As part of the HDRCOE at Meharry, we seek to provide community partners with the tools to better understand the relationship between environmental risk factors, spatial and temporal aspects of exposure, and risk for poor health outcomes and population-based disparities. Mapping is an integral part of the research toolkit we use at the HDRCOE to engage communities in the discussion of the causes and solutions to health disparities. On this site, we will provide downloadable maps of health disparities in the United States for easy use by community partners, including a “Map of the Day.” We hope these maps are useful to you!

NCMI Projects

Map of the day


szi9nf7wWe have recently (10/12/2016) added over 600 county-level maps on a host of health and environment features. Static Map Database. Or from the Home page go to the Community Mapping Gallery tab at the top of the page; scroll down to Gallery and click on Static Maps.  Under Maps by theme click on Static Map Database. There are 23 pages of maps.  Click on the Download link to open it up. Double click on the map to enlarge it and copy or save the image to your computer to print.

The NCMI is in the process of developing an interactive mapping overlay to the HDRCOE exposome data base so that users can select the variables they would like to map. The exposome is a data base of over 20,000 county level exposure variables in four broad environmental domains: natural (air, water, land); built, (places you live, work, play, learn and pray); social (demographic, social, political and economic); and policy (federal, state, and local laws and regulations) that have a direct and indirect impact on health.

Safe Routes to School

NCMI is working with Walk/Bike Nashville, the TN Department of Transportation, and teachers, children, and parents from two local Metro Nashville Public elementary schools to map Safe Routes to School. We hope to offer this as a community service to other Metro Nashville Public Schools.


Safe Routes To School Website:

Zika virus

NCMI recently was awarded a grant from the National Library of Medicine to work with two local Metro Nashville Public middle schools to use PPGIS methods and the Mappler smart phone app to map potential mosquito breeding grounds in North Nashville that could contribute to the spread of the Zika virus and mother mosquito-borne diseases.

Disaster Management

Superstorm Sandy.  Dr. Wansoo Im worked with IMSOCIO students of Franklin High School in Princeton NJ to create a near real-time interactive map of Open and Sold out gas stations in the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy so that persons in the region could identify gas availability. The site was used by FEMA and the White House to track gas availability in the weeks after the storm.

South Korean Earthquake. The NCMI created a crowdsourcing mapping website ( for residents to identify damage resulting from the recent 5.6 earthquake in South Korean. The mapping website was created and online within two hours of the earthquake and allowed persons who were trapped in elevators and buildings to alert others of their situation.

Downloadable Maps

The NCMI is developing and will be posting a repository of pre-formatted, static, time-lapse, and interactive maps on health disparities and environmental exposures for your use. These maps can be downloaded and used for your own purposes.

Static Maps (predefined maps of a public health concern)

Timelapse Maps (changes of characteristics over time)

Interactive Maps (enable users to identify map features)

Thank you for your interest in health disparities and health equity. We hope the maps that are provided on this site will be of help to you and the communities your serve. PLEASE: reference the website in your work. Feel free to contact us with your feedback and suggestions to improve the site! To learn more about the work of the HDRCOE, go to:

Sincerely, HDRCOE staff