Role of information technology in environment and human health
Information technology has tremendous potential in the field of environment education and health as in any other field like business, economics, politics or culture. Development of internet facilities, Geographic Information System (GIS) and information through satellites has generated a wealth of up-to- date information on various aspects of environment and health.
Role of Information Technology in Environment
Database on Environment System
Database is the collection of interrelated data on various subjects. It is usually in computerized form and can be retrieved whenever required. In the computer the information of database and can be very quickly retrieved. The comprehensive database includes wildlife database, conservation database, forest cover database etc. database is also available for diseases like HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Fluorosis, etc.
Remote sensing technique through satellite can be used to assess ongoing changes in the environment and to predict natural calamities like droughts, floods and volcanic eruptions etc. The technique is of great use in exploring the possible availability of crude oils, mineral deposits and location of geothermal power sources.
Environmental Information System (ENVIS)
ENVIS established in 1982 aims on providing environmental information to decision makers, policy planners, engineers and scientists all over the country. ENVIS centres work for generating a network of database in areas like pollution control, clean technologies, biodiversity, renewable energy, wildlife, environmental management and remote sensing.
ENVIS has a network of several participating institutions forming a number of nodes, known as ENVIS centres, which work with a Focal Point in the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Due to its compact network, ENVIS has been designed as the National Focal Point (NFP) for INFOTERRA, a global environmental information network of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
ENVIS has following objectives:
- To build up a repository and dissemination centre in Environmental Science and Engineering.
- To gear up modern technologies of acquiring, processing, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information of environmental nature.
- To promote research, development and innovation in environmental information technology.
- To provide national environmental information service relevant to meet the future needs.
National Management Information System (NMIS)
NMIS of the Department of Science and Technology has compiled a database on Research and Development projects along with information about research scientists and personnel involved.
Geographical Information System (GIS)
GIS has proved to be a very effective tool in environmental management. GIS is a technique of superimposing various thematic maps using digital data on a large number of inter-related or inter-dependent aspects. Different thematic maps containing digital information on a number of aspects like water resources, forest land, soil type, crop land, industrial growth, human settlement etc. are superimposed in a layered form in computer using soft-wares.
Role of Information Technology in Human Health
Information technology is playing a major role in bioinformatics, genome sequencing, biotechnology, gene engineering, online medical transcription and in maintaining DTA databases for a better human health. It also helps in identifying several disease-infected areas which are prone to some vector-borne diseases like malaria, schistosomiasis etc. based upon mapping of such areas.
Bioinformatics, an emerging field of it is used in curing severe diseases like osteoporosis and in human genome project (HGP) by developing a computer programme that helps in completing the genome sequencing. The aim of HGP is to create a map of entire set of genes (genome) in the human cell by decoding the three billion units of human DNA.
IT provides vast quantum of information on different subjects including human health and environment. The patient can seek help of a super-specialist doctor placed at far off distance. The National Institute of Occupational Health provides computerized information on occupational health of people working in various hazardous and non-hazardous industries and safety measures etc.
Recently, an American Company M-square started Home Medican Transcription System (Hometrans) under which a medical online service can be started from home. The person interested in it needs to have a computer, telephone, helpline, voice script software and an internet for operating medical transcription.
Information technology is expanding rapidly with increasing applications and new avenues are being opened with effective role in education, management and planning in the field of environment and health.