Geographic Information Systems and Links between the Environment and Health


The Sigles Programme

The SIGLES research programme uses GIS to explore health-environment inequalities on a territorial scale.

This website provides an overview of environmental health, and specifically the concepts of territorial inequality and biomonitoring with plants and fungi. You can also read about the methods and tools used for environmental health mapping.

Word cloud for SIGLES.



The purpose of SIGLES

The concept of environmental health was first introduced at the Helsinki Conference in 1994 by the WHO (World Health Organization), who then declared that that “the environment is the key to better health”in June 1999. This includes parameters related to the quality of the environment (water, air and soil) and to all human activities. In its definition of environmental health, the WHO considers any health problems that are not of genetic origin or are not the result of an individual choice (such as smoking).

The multiple ways in which humans can be exposed to the environment and pollutants surrounding them make it difficult to characterize the link between environment and health. In addition, the characterization of exposure is not sufficient to understand this relationship as a whole.

The issue of social inequalities in environment and health (SIEH) is attributed to two compounding elements: the level of the population’s exposure to a degraded living environment and the level of socio-economic vulnerability to risk factors that can affect health.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have become essential tools for the study of links between the environment and health. They provide a robust and powerful set of spatial analysis tools for the joint interpretation of multidisciplinary data. This system facilitates the estimation of multiple exposures through the use of indices based on closeness or overlap at individual and group levels.

The scientific hypothesis of SIGLES considers that there is a higher incidence of chronic diseases in populations that live in degraded environments.