News Headlines
  • October 19, 2016ZevRoss Spatial Analysis is a co-author on a paper describing software to explore and compare country-level data on health inequalities. The software, developed by the WHO and ZevRoss Spatial Analysis is used by analysts to investigate the relationships between dimensions such as economic status and health outcomes in countries around the world. The software was written using the new web application framework for R called Shiny. The paper is open-access and can be downloaded here.
  • May 6, 2016Zev will run a training called Interactive Data Visualization in R with Shiny and ggplot2 at the Open Data Science Conference in Boston on May 20. The 4-hour training will cover the basics of creating graphics using the package ggplot2, creating interactive applications using Shiny and making dynamic graphics with HTML widgets. The "TA" for the workshop with be the Shiny package creator and RStudio Chief Technology Officer Joe Cheng. You can find more on the trainings at this conference at or you can visit the page for Zev's training at
  • April 5, 2016ZevRoss Spatial Analysis teamed up with the California Department of Public Health to create an interactive mapping application that enables users to view spatial and temporal trends in agricultural pesticide use. The application makes use of California's extensive dataset on pesticide applications from the Department of Pesticide Regulation. The app allows users to choose from more than 3.5 million different combinations of chemical, crop, year, summary type and geographic unit. From a technical perspective, the tool does not require a GIS server, reducing maintenance requirements and complexity. Instead the tool uses Google's Angular JavaScript framework combined with Google maps and a PostgreSQL/PostGIS backend. You can find the application here.
  • February 9, 2016Zev participated in RStudio's Shiny developers conference in Palo Alto where he delivered a 5 minute lightning talk on the development of an interactive data visualization application using Shiny for the World Health Organization. The two-day conference featured talks on interesting applications using the software and included talks from RStudio on debugging and profiling techniques and new innovations in the Shiny package.
  • January 2016 - Happy New Year!We had the opportunity to work on fun and interesting projects in 2015. Our work with clients this year included:
    • co-authoring scientific papers on air quality, HIV infection, asthma and neighborhood demographics
    • developing a visualization tool to explore data on health equity for the World Health Organization
    • developing an R package for environmental monitoring data as well as interactive mapping and analysis applications for clients in NYC, Boston and Philadelphia
    • producing maps and statistical analysis for more than a dozen clients across the country
    In addition, Zev was invited to teach his Introduction to R workshop at the American Cancer Society and a multi-day workshop on Spatial Analysis with R for a corporate client. Our blog on data science continues to be popular with nearly 400,000 views in 2015. We feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with many of you in 2015 and look forward to a productive 2016!
  • November 1, 2015ZevRoss Spatial Analysis was awarded a contract with the World Health Organization to develop a final version of their Health Equity Assessment Toolkit. The Toolkit is an application designed to allow researchers to assess health equity in countries around the world based on a variety of factors. Users can explore and compare data on health equity by several dimensions (e.g., economic status, sex) and more than a dozen indicators (e.g., infant mortality, vaccination rates). The Toolkit is developed using Shiny, a web application framework for R software.
  • October 1, 2015Zev will be visiting the American Cancer Society offices in Atlanta on October 7 and 8 to conduct the introduction to R workshop. The workshop covers key R concepts and gives examples using the packages dplyr and ggplot2. There are more details on the workshop generally here.
  • September 10, 2015ZevRoss Spatial Analysis has been working with researchers at Columbia University on a project looking at air pollution exposure while biking in NYC. As part of the project we are in the process of creating an online interactive web application to assign air pollution exposure based on biking path data collected from a GPS. In the initial stages of development we created an animated map of air pollution levels that was recently included in a Science Friday video. You can see the video here and you can see our blog post on how it was created here.
  • June 11, 2015ZevRoss Spatial Analysis is developing software to help researchers at Columbia University manage and analyze data from a study related to bicycling and health in New York City. As part of the study, participants bicycle the City outfitted with an array of sensors that monitor heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and air pollution. In support of the study, ZevRoss Spatial Analysis is developing a library of computer functions in the R language (an R package) that will process the sensor data and upload to SQL databases for storage. You can learn more about the study (and find out how to volunteer) here.

    Image source:
  • May 1, 2015A new report by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Queens College and ZevRoss Spatial Analysis shows impressive improvements in New York City air quality 2008-2013. Concentrations of major pollutants declined 16-69% during this time period. The biggest declines were in sulfur dioxide -- a direct result of new regulations that phase out dirtier heating oils. The report can be found here.
  • April 10, 2015ZevRoss Spatial Analysis worked with scientists at the Natural Resources Defense Council to create a web mapping application that allows users to identify US communities that are most vulnerable to ocean acidification, a condition that can pose a serious threat to underwater life. The application makes extensive use of a relatively new, popular and open-source mapping technology called Leaflet and allows users to investigate factors that influence ocean acidification. Check out the map here.
  • March 10, 2015RStudio, creators of popular open source software for the R statistical programming language, have added Zev Ross as a recommended R training and consulting partner. For more details visit RStudio's training and consulting website here.
  • January 5, 2015 - Happy New Year!ZevRoss Spatial Analysis had a rewarding 2014 working with many of you on a variety of interesting projects. Examples of our work include, co-authoring several scientific papers with clients in NYC, Atlanta, Providence and California, developing interactive, online mapping applications for clients in California, Boston and New Haven and conducting time series modeling and spatial statistics for clients in California, NYC and Colorado. Despite a soccer-related broken leg, Zev also had a few opportunities to leave his Ithaca-based computer – he delivered talks on online tools for visualization of geographic data to the New York State Department of Health and at Cornell University. He also taught workshops on R statistical software at UCLA and in Seattle. This year also marked the launch of our blog and Twitter feed focused on the nitty-gritty, tecnical aspects of data science – the blog has registered nearly 100,000 views since launch.

    We feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with many of you in 2014 and look forward to a productive 2015.
  • November 13, 2014On November 13th and 14th 2014 Zev delivered a two-day workshop on R statistical software to 20 students and professors at the UCLA School of Public Health in Los Angeles. The workshop was designed as a crash course in R software with a specific emphasis on data visualization and included a half-day section on the popular new data visualization package ggplot2.
  • October 3, 2014ZevRoss Spatial Analysis worked with a team of researchers from Emory University and several other institutions to evaluate the relationship between depression (in one study) and vulnerability to HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases (in the other study) as they relate to changes in neighborhood characteristics after a move from public housing. As part of the study, ZevRoss Spatial Analysis computed crime and alcohol outlet densities as well as network distances between residences at different time points. Details on the study related to depression (in the Journal of Urban Health) can be found here and for the study related to vulnerability to HIV (in the journal AIDS and Behavior) here.
  • August 6, 2014ZevRoss Spatial Analysis worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council to develop maps of crude oil train derailment risk zones in California. The maps and analysis are part of an issue brief which brings attention to the risks faced by California residents due to potentially dangerous rail cars.
  • June 12, 2014ZevRoss Spatial Analysis is a co-author on a study by researchers at University of California, Berkeley and Boston University focused on traffic-related noise in three US cities, Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta. As part of the study, noise measurements were collected with simultaneously measured vehicle counts. The results, published in the journal Environmental Research, find substantial variation in traffic-related noise between cities and show a strong correlation between vehicle counts and noise levels. The abstract can be viewed here.
  • May 1, 2014Zev is scheduled to conduct a 2-day R workshop (with a special emphasis on data visualization) at the UCLA School of Public Health in June. For the fourth year in a row, Zev will also deliver a 1-day R workshop in Seattle at the International Society for Environmental Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) conference in September. Limited details on the ISEE workshop can be found here.
  • April 17, 2014ZevRoss Spatial Analysis worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council to prepare maps and statistics on the affects of Hurricane Sandy on the New York City region. The results of the analysis are presented in a new NRDC report Preparing for Climate Change: Lessons for Coastal Cities from Hurricane Sandy. View the report here.
  • February 10, 2014Zev visited the New York State Department of Health on February 8th to participate in meetings related to a climate change and health project and to deliver a seminar entitled "New Online Tools for Visualization and Analysis of Geographic Data (with a focus on public health)". The seminar, delivered to NYS DOH's Division of Environmental Health Assessment discussed recent advances in online mapping including JavaScript libraries such as Leaflet, D3 and Kartograph as well as two services that make it easy to design and publish maps online, CartoDB and Mapbox.
  • February 5, 2014CartoDB is a new online map visualization and analysis tool that we're excited about. For simple and quick maps CartoDB offers a drag-and-drop dashboard that allows you to upload and view a geographic dataset in a matter of minutes. But what makes CartoDB particularly unique is the backend spatially enabled database, PostGIS. With PostGIS powering the visualizations developers can integrate true GIS functionality into a web app. For example, PostGIS can allow you to include buffering, clipping, distance and many other tools and can render the results on the fly. Check out our example page here.
  • January 21, 2014ZevRoss Spatial Analysis worked with the Clean Air Task Force (CATF) to create an online, interactive web map to show the adverse health affects associated with exposure to fine particle air pollution from power plant emissions. The map uses the powerful cloud-based mapping service CartoDB to render the map on top of Google base layers. Click here to see the map in action.
  • January 6, 2014 - Happy New Year!Thank you to our clients and colleagues for a busy and productive year! We had the privilege in 2013 of working with a wide range of clients including universities, government agencies and non-profits. This past year we co-authored several journal articles and participated in research studies focused on air pollution, climate change, water quality, noise and urban health. We had the opportunity to teach R statistical software both at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the conference for the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. We also worked with several different clients to develop interactive, online maps and mapping applications to creatively display data on drinking water quality, weather-related disasters and Hurricane Sandy storm surges. We're looking forward to continuing our rewarding relationships with clients in 2014!
  • November 14, 2013ZevRoss Spatial Analysis contributed to an important new paper in the American Journal of Epidemiology on the effects of air pollutants on birth weight. Using records of more than 250,000 births in New York City the team of researchers concludes that the results "strongly support the potential for urban air pollution exposure to reduce fetal growth." In addition to ZevRoss Spatial Analysis, the team is composed of researchers from Brown University, including lead author Dr. David Savitz, Harvard University, the New York City Department of Health and the University of Pittsburgh. ZevRoss Spatial Analysis contributed to the effort by helping to develop air pollution exposure metrics -- work that was recently published in the journal Environmental Health. For the abstract click here.

    Image Credit: By Kenny Louie from Vancouver, Canada
    [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
  • November 1, 2013ZevRoss Spatial Analysis' 1.5 day R workshop October 25-26, 2013 was well received at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. At the workshop Zev worked with 13 participants -- Columbia faculty, staff and students -- to help them get up and running with the statistical software. The participants provided positive feedback in the anonymous post-workshop survey including "Thanks again for such a useful workshop in R. I felt that R was too daunting to try on my own and now I feel like I can navigate it on my own. You really broke it into manageable pieces" and "From going from zero to 'mega exposure', the delivery of the nuanced material did achieve in its goal to immerse students in R".

    Among the ten people providing anonymous feedback on the course at Columbia University when asked the free-form question "Would you recommend that I run the workshop again:" responses were "Definitely", "Absolutely", "Yes", "Definitely", "Definitely!", "Yes", "Most definitely! It was a wonderful introduction/field course", "Yes" and "Absolutely!"
  • October 28, 2013ZevRoss Spatial Analysis worked with researchers at the Natural Resources Defense Council to analyze smoke data from NOAA, fire data from the USGS and air monitoring sites from the US EPA. The results of the analysis are presented in an Issue Brief entitled "Where There's Fire, There's Smoke: Wildfire Smoke Affects Communities Distant from Deadly Flames." The Issue Brief concludes that nearly 212 million people lived in counties affected by smoke conditions in 2011 and that climate change -- and associated hotter temperatures and longer dry seasons -- will make matters worse. You can find the issue brief here.
  • October 22, 2013ZevRoss Spatial Analysis collaborated with NRDC on a recent project comparing the extent of flooding associated with Hurricane Sandy to the "expected" flooding extent based on FEMA maps in New York City. In support of the project, we worked with NRDC to develop static maps showing both expected and actual flooding extent. We also generated an interactive mapping feature to allow users to view areas of New York City that were not expected to be flooded by a 100-year flood but were flooded during Hurricane Sandy. You can see the interactive map at NRDC's website.
  • October 21, 2013Zev is headed to New York City on Friday October 25 to run a workshop on R statistical software at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. The 1.5 day workshop, entitled A Crash Course in R: An Introduction to R for Environmental Health is designed to quickly get participants up to speed using R through a combination of slides and exercises focused on R basics, R plotting and R statistics. For more information on the R workshop you can contact Zev directly (zev AT
  • September 26, 2013At a press conference today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a report that documents significant declines in air pollution levels since December 2008. Declines were particularly strong among combustion-related pollutants with declines of 69% in sulfur dioxide and 35% for nickel. New York City also experienced a 23% improvement in annual average concentrations of fine particulate matter between 2005-2007 to 2009-2011. The improvements in air quality are estimated to contribute to nearly 800 fewer deaths and 1600 fewer emergency department visits for asthma. The statistics in the report make extensive use of New York City Community Air Survey, an air monitoring network that ZevRoss Spatial Analysis helped to design and implement in 2008. ZevRoss Spatial Analysis has continued to work with New York City to analyze data from the network of air monitors and has been a co-author with NYC and others on several recent journal articles and reports and contributed to the current report. You can read Mayor Bloomberg's press release here and the New York Times article here.
  • August 12, 2013ZevRoss Spatial Analysis has been awarded a contract with work with researchers at Emory University on a new five-year study to investigate the relationship between geographic characteristics and racial/ethnic disparities in HIV-related health and health service use among injectors. We will be working with the research team, lead by Dr. Hannah Cooper, to help document geographic variations in health disparities and describe the changes over time. Our contribution will include developing measures of spatial access to health-related facilities through network analysis and generating Census-based spatial measures of risk factors. For more information on the project click here.
  • July 11, 2013ZevRoss Spatial Analysis teamed up with researchers at the New York City Department of Health, Brown University and the University of Pittsburgh on a new study focused on exposure to air pollution during pregnancy. The study makes use of data from the New York City Community Air Survey to estimate exposure to air pollutants related to combustion (i.e., traffic, home heating). The exposure estimates produced in the course of this study are being used to evaluate the association between exposure to air pollution and adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight and pre-term birth. For a full list of the scientific publications we have been involved in you can click here.
  • June 24, 2013ZevRoss Spatial Analysis worked with teams of researchers at UC Berkeley, Emory University, Health Canada and several other institutions in the publication of two recent air pollution studies and a study on the effects of public housing relocations. In each of the studies we contributed geographic and other analyses. For a full list of the scientific publications we have been involved in you can click here.
  • May 28, 2013ZevRoss Spatial Analysis has posted the first in a series of installments on the web technologies we use to visualize data. D3 (data-driven documents) is a new web technology for interactively visualizing data in new and exciting ways on the web. D3 is the engine behind some of the beautiful interactive graphics you can find on the New York Times web site and is being used in a variety of other contexts. Our brief web post on D3 is the first in a series of four installments we're planning on powerful new technologies for displaying and interacting with graphical and spatial data on the web.
  • May 9, 2013ZevRoss Spatial Analysis has been invited to consult on an exciting new project with the New York State Department of Health. The project, funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, is designed to identify populations in NYS that are likely to be particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and to help plan adaptation strategies. ZevRoss Spatial Analysis will be working with the State to help identify data resources, prepare geographic data and develop community vulnerability indicators.
  • April 10, 2013ZevRoss Spatial Analysis worked with Environment America and the Frontier Group on two climate-related efforts. We helped them to update maps on weather-related disasters in the US. The Washington Post added a link to the climate maps here. These maps, created using TileMill and MapBox, provide county-level statistics on extreme weather. We also contributed to their recent report on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by designing an infographic for use in their media efforts.

    Environment America: Weather-Related Disasters in the U.S. Environment America: Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Report
  • April 4, 2013We created a map of some of our favorite Ithaca hotspots for eating, drinking and socializing using a customized set of tiles from MapBox. This lightweight map makes use of marker overlays using the MapBox API and showcases some of our local favorites including longtime Ithaca establishments such as the Ithaca Farmer's Market and Maxie's Supper Club as well as newbies to the scene like The Westy and Northstar House. Check out the map here!
  • February 21, 2013ZevRoss Spatial Analysis worked with the San Francisco Department of Public Health to develop an interactive, online atlas of HIV/AIDS in San Francisco neighborhoods in 2010. Designed to complement SFDPH's static atlas, available in PDF format, the online map highlights geographic patterns in new HIV diagnoses, diagnoses by sex and age categories and the use of anti-retroviral therapy.

    In producing the map we made extensive use of the lightweight javascript mapping library leaflet.js (to render shapes in geoJSON format) and added a customized set of tiles from MapBox as the base/reference layer (via wax.js). You can see the site in action here.
  • January 15, 2013In January 2013 ZevRoss Spatial Analysis contributed geographic and data analysis to a new web mapping site on climate extremes. In support of the Natural Resources Defense Council's new Extreme Weather Map 2012 we worked with NRDC scientists to produce maps and tables to characterize extreme temperature, precipitation, flooding, drought and wildfires.

    Using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) we generated geographic files of extreme weather events and helped NRDC compile county and state level statistics on extreme weather throughout the United States. The site can be viewed here.
  • January 4, 2013 - Happy New Year!In 2012 we helped dozens of clients analyze and visualize data on topics such as climate change, air pollution, land use patterns and disease. We worked with clients to publish several peer-reviewed papers, participated in six NIH-funded R01 studies and conducted a workshop on R statistical software at the conference for the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. We also had the opportunity to work with four different clients to produce interactive web mapping sites to show off data on climate change, environment-related voting records and geographic trends in HIV/AIDS.

    As we head into 2013 we look forward to conducting spatial and environmental data analysis for new and continuing clients, as well as celebrating Hollie's 5th year on the job and the 10-year anniversary of the business!
  • November 10, 2012For the past five years, ZevRoss Spatial Analysis has worked with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Queens College in New York to design and implement a network of 150 air pollution monitors throughout the city. The monitoring effort, known as the New York City Community Air Survey (NYCCAS), is one of the largest urban air monitoring campaigns in the world and provides valuable data to help assess geographic and temporal trends in air pollution in NYC. ZevRoss Spatial Analysis has provided geographic analysis and statistical support to NYCCAS since its inception. Two manuscripts on the methods used to design the network and model the resulting data have just been accepted by the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. They provide a blueprint for other cities to implement similar monitoring surveys. See publications for more detail.
  • October 2, 2012In collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council, ZevRoss Spatial Analysis develops a web mapping site focused on climate and energy in China. The site, available in both English and Chinese, displays maps and graphs of Chinese provincial data on energy consumption, energy production and energy efficiency. The site includes a time slider and plotting that allow users to see changes through time and a guidebook, linked to the maps and graphs, that provides additional detail on important topics.
  • September 12, 2012ZevRoss Spatial Analysis contributed to the recent study on links between public housing relocations and reduced access to safety net primary care. Our contribution to the work included computing proximity statistics using network analysis, geocoding and development of gravity-based models to generate measures of spatial access to primary care locations. You can find an abstract of the paper here or contact us if you would like a free electronic reprint.
  • September 1, 2012Twenty researchers participated in a workshop on R statistical software in Columbia, South Carolina led by Zev. The workshop entitled Crash Course in R: An Introduction to R for Environmental Epidemiology was geared toward researchers just getting started with R. It covered a broad set of topics including data management, plotting and statistics. Workshop participants attended from five different countries and conduct research in a wide range of topics related to environmental and public health. For more information on our R training click here.
  • August 1, 2012ZevRoss Spatial Analysis unveils new website! We significantly updated our website to include more detail on the clients we work with (including client testimonials), our publications and our data visualization and mapping products.
  • July 15, 2012A recent study by ZevRoss Spatial Analysis and colleagues is among the most downloaded articles from the journal Environmental Research. The study investigates the correlation between noise, traffic and air pollutants at a high traffic location in New York City. The study is among the first to look at the correlations through time using different noise frequencies. We found that noise was strongly correlated with car, bus and truck traffic. Medium and high frequency noise were generally more strongly correlated with traffic and traffic-related pollutants than low frequency noise. You can read the abstract here or contact us if you would like a free electronic reprint of the article.
  • June 14, 2012Zev was a member of the recent American Cancer Society's Expert Roundtable on Spatial Measures of the Environment. Zev was invited to Atlanta along with other experts on the application of geographic techniques to environmental health studies to provide advice and expertise on scientific and logistical aspects of applying spatial measures of the environment to research using the American Cancer Society cohorts.
  • April 10, 2012ZevRoss Spatial Analysis conducted statistical analysis in support of a new paper on H1N1 vaccination among pregnant women. The study, conducted by colleagues at the Krasnoff Quality Management Institute and North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health system used an in-person survey to identify factors associated with acceptance or refusal of the H1N1 vaccine. The strongest factor associated with acceptance of the vaccine was a health care provider recommendation – race, education, income and age were less important. You can read the abstract here or contact us if you would like a free electronic reprint of the article.
  • March 20, 2012ZevRoss Spatial Analysis worked with PennEnvironment to produce an interactive web application to highlight the voting records of legislators in Pennsylvania. The application focuses on legislators' votes with respect to Marcellus Shale gas drilling legislation. The application can be found here.
  • February 16, 2012We worked with Environment America to produce a series of interactive state and national maps of weather-related disasters in the United States. The maps make heavy use of an exciting new web-mapping technology called MapBox to elegantly display the number of weather related disasters for all counties in the United States based on data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Click here to see the maps in action.
  • January 27, 2012We were recently invited to participate as a consultant on an important new study looking at the possible associations between air pollution and hypertension and diabetes among African American women. The NIH-funded study, headed by Dr. Patricia Coogan at Boston University, will evaluate whether exposure to air pollution increases the risks of incident hypertension and type 2 diabetes in a cohort of 59,000 African American women from across the U.S. The study is of immense public health importance given the high prevalence of hypertension and diabetes, the disparity in the incidence between black and white women, and the ubiquity of exposure to air pollution.
  • January 3, 2012New mini-calendar available! Each year we produce a mini-calendar for use by our clients and colleagues. Please contact us if you would like us to send you a free calendar.
  • November 4, 2011ZevRoss Spatial Analysis will be providing geographic analysis and statistical support on an important new study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The three-year study, headed by Dr. David Savitz at Brown University, focuses on investigating possible links between air pollution exposure and pregnancy outcome in New York City. Our role in the effort will include helping to develop statistical methods for assigning exposure to air pollutants throughout the city for multiple points in time during each pregnancy.
  • September 20, 2011Zev recently returned from Barcelona, Spain where he co-taught a workshop on the statistical software R and attended the annual International Society for Environmental Epidemiology conference. The R workshop, taught with Dr. Roger Peng, an Associate Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, aimed to get new users up and running with R for environmental research. Participants in the workshop included 50 researchers from 17 countries.