311 service requests as indicators of neighborhood distress and opioid use disorder

New paper: Li, Y., Hyder, A., Southerland, L.T., Hammond, G., Porr, A. and Miller, H.J. “311 service requests as indicators of neighborhood distress and opioid use disorder,” Scientific Reports, 10, 19579.


Opioid use disorder and overdose deaths is a public health crisis in the United States, and there is increasing recognition that its etiology is rooted in part by social determinants such as poverty, isolation and social upheaval. Limiting research and policy interventions is the low temporal and spatial resolution of publicly available administrative data such as census data. We explore the use of municipal service requests (also known as “311” requests) as high resolution spatial and temporal indicators of neighborhood social distress and opioid misuse. We analyze the spatial associations between georeferenced opioid overdose event (OOE) data from emergency medical service responders and 311 service request data from the City of Columbus, OH, USA for the time period 2008–2017. We find 10 out of 21 types of 311 requests spatially associate with OOEs and also characterize neighborhoods with lower socio-economic status in the city, both consistently over time. We also demonstrate that the 311 indicators are capable of predicting OOE hotspots at the neighborhood-level: our results show code violation, public health, and street lighting were the top three accurate predictors with predictive accuracy as 0.92, 0.89 and 0.83, respectively. Since 311 requests are publicly available with high spatial and temporal resolution, they can be effective as opioid overdose surveillance indicators for basic research and applied policy.


NASEM Mapping Science Committee webinar: Geospatial Needs for a Pandemic-Resilient World. 

Epidemics and pandemics such as the COVID-19 outbreak have clear geographic dimensions due to the vector spreading the virus (human contact), demographics and co-morbidity factors that vary geographically, the distributed and heterogeneous nature of health care systems, and the highly variable response and interventions from political authorities and the public-at-large. The decline and shifts in human activity also affect broader social, economic and environmental systems to varying degrees. Geospatial information can play vital roles in crafting effective government and societal responses at the operational, tactical and strategic levels.

On 17 June 2020, the Mapping Science Committee of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine will host an online workshop on Geospatial Needs for a Pandemic-Resilient World.  This workshop will explore the needs of federal agencies, organizations, and scientists for geospatial data science to understand and respond to epidemics/pandemics and developing infrastructure and policies that facilitate effective management and graceful recovery from these types of shocks.  This workshop is free and open to the public.

Ohio State Geography is hiring! Tenure-track assistant professorship in Geospatial Data Science

The Department of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University invites applications for a tenure track position at the assistant professor level, commencing autumn semester 2018. The position is contingent on budgetary approval. We seek a scholar with expertise in areas such as spatial-temporal data analytics, spatial simulation and modeling, cyberGIS and high performance computing, and/or geovisualization. Preferred application domains include scholars who address issues surrounding sustainability, resilience and social equity in areas that include urban science, transportation and/or public health. The successful candidate will also be required to teach classes in the department’s GIS program.

This position is partially funded by Ohio State’s Discovery Themes Initiative, a significant faculty hiring investment in key thematic areas in which the university can build on its culture of academic collaboration to make a global impact. The successful candidate will join a highly collaborative interdisciplinary community of scholars in the Sustainable and Resilient Economy (SRE) program including faculty from social and behavioral sciences, environmental sciences, engineering, business, public health, and policy. The SRE program seeks to advance sustainability science by developing a more holistic understanding of sustainable and resilient production and consumption systems, human-environment interactions, and innovations in sustainable technologies and governance. Successful applicants will be expected to participate in or lead collaborative teams and interdisciplinary research on sustainability and resilience topics.



A Ph.D. in GIScience or a closely related field is required. All applicants are expected to have very strong and fundable research programs and to contribute to both graduate and undergraduate supervision and instructions. Preferred qualifications include experience developing or working in interdisciplinary research teams, university teaching experience and experience mentoring members of underrepresented groups.  Appointment is contingent on the university’s verification of credentials and other information required by law and/or university policies, including but not limited to a criminal background check.

About Columbus:

The Ohio State University campus is located in Columbus, the capital city of Ohio. Columbus is the center of a rapidly growing and diverse metropolitan area with a population of over 1.5 million. The area offers a wide range of affordable housing, many cultural and recreational opportunities, excellent schools, and a strong economy based on government as well as service, transportation and technology industries. Columbus has consistently been rated as one of the Top U.S. cities for quality of life, and was selected as one of the Top 10 cities for African Americans to live, work, and play by Black Enterprise magazine. Additional information about the Columbus area is available at http://www.columbus.org.

Application Instructions:

Apply to Academic Jobs Online at: https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/9712.  A complete application consists of a cover letter including teaching, research and service credentials, a curriculum vitae, up to three representative publications, and three letters of references. Inquiries may be directed to Morton O’Kelly at okelly.1@osu.edu. Applications received prior to November 15, 2017 will receive priority consideration.

The Ohio State University is committed to establishing a culturally and intellectually diverse environment, encouraging all members of our learning community to reach their full potential. We are responsive to dual-career families and strongly promote work-life balance to support our community members through a suite of institutionalized policies. We are an NSF Advance Institution and a member of the Ohio/Western Pennsylvania/West Virginia Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC).

The Ohio State University is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation or identity, national origin, disability status, or protected veteran status.