Gerry Rushton

Gerry Rushton
Professor Emeritus
PhD, University of Iowa
Research Interests: 
spatial decision support systems, spatial analysis of disease burdens

I am interested in spatial decision support systems (SDSS) and the problems of developing and incorporating insights from location theory into such systems; the development of human service systems in both developed and developing country contexts, particularly for health services; and the spatial analysis of disease burdens. Modeling areas include location-allocation, small area demographics, spatial choice behavior, disease cluster analysis, spatial aggregation and disaggregation. I am interested in integrating such methods in geographic information systems.

Links of interest:

  • Location Models and Spatial Decision Support Systems
  • Geography of Health
  • Advanced Location Theory
  • Spatial Analysis of Health
  • Location-allocation models
Graduate Advisees: 
  • Phipps, Alan, G. Ph.D. "Space Searching Behavior: The Case of Apartment Selection." Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
  • Fogarty, Bruce, W. PhD. "A New Measurement of Store Attraction Inferred from Spatial Choice Data." J.C. Penney Corporation.
  • Hillsman, Edward, L. Ph.D. "A System for Location-allocation Analysis." Research Division Head, Washington State Department of Transportation, Olympia, WA.
  • Bell, Thomas, L. PhD. "Central Place Theory as a Mixture of the Function Pattern Principles of Christaller and Losch: some empirical tests and applications." Professor, Department of Geography, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • Lieber, Stanley. PhD. "A Joint Space Analysis of Preferences and Their Underlying Traits." Professor, Department of Geography, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois.
  • Louviere, Jordan, J. PhD. "A Psychophysical-Experimental Approach to Modeling Spatial Behavior." Professor, Marketing, University of Sydney.
  • Densham, Paul, J. PhD. "Computer Interactive Techniques for Settlement Reorganization." Reader, University College, London, England
  • Eagle, Thomas, C. PhD. "A Context Dependent Model of Spatial Choice." Research Scientist, Decision Science Inc., Boston, MA.
  • Ghosh, Avijit. PhD. "A Model of Itinerant Trading and Periodic Marketing." Dean, College of Business, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL.
  • McLafferty, Sara, L. Ph.D. "Distributional Considerations in the Location of Public Services." Professor Dept. of Geography, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL.
  • Meneley, G. Joseph. PhD. Medical Geography. Hospital Administrator, Little Rock, Arkansas.
  • Nichols, Stephen, G. PhD. "Decision Support Systems for Facility Location Decisions in Developing Countries." Principal, Accounting Firm, Washington, D.C.
  • Park, Soo Byong. PhD. Location Models.
  • Lolonis, Panos, PhD. (Co-Adviser) Decision Support Systems.
  • Krishnamurthy, Rajesh. M.A. Medical Geography.
  • Airola, Matthew, M.A. Geographic Information Systems.
  • Ruggles, Amy ABD. Rand McNally Corp, Chicago, IL. Geographic Information Systems.
  • Banerjee, Anirudha, PhD “Temporal Changes in the Spatial Pattern of Disease Rates Incorporating Known Risk Factors.” Prevention Research Center, Berkeley, CA.
  • Lixun Zhang, M.A. Spatial Analysis of Health
  • Melissa Meiners, M.A. Medical Geography
  • Geoffrey Smith, Student, Medical Geography.
  • Chetan Tiwari, Student, Medical Geography
  • Soumya Mazumdar, Student, Medical Geography
  • Qiang Cai, Student, Medical Geography
  • Kirsten Beyer, Student, Medical Geography
  • Zunqiu Chen
Grants & Funding: 
  • 1999 The Use of Spatial Analysis to Identify and Characterize Areas with High Rates of Late-Stage Breast and Colorectal Cancer, (with Ika Peleg, Department of Internal Medicine), National Cancer Institute, Contract No. NCI-PC-95019-20 1999, $96,475.
  • 1998 Geographic Variation in Breast Cancer Treatment and Mammography Use, (with Michele West, Dept. of Preventive Medicine). National Cancer Institute, Contract No. NCI-PC-67008 Mod. No. 4 & No. 10. $36,000.
  • 1996 Environmental Justice and Transportation Investment Policy, (with D. Forkenbrock); Minnesota and U.S. Departments of Transportation, $146,515.
  • 1993-1995 Application of a Geography Planning System for Local Community Health Planning (with Judith Ruskin). U.S. Department of Public Health (National Center for Rural Aging Research) $25,000.
  • 1993-2000 The Spatial Pattern of Birth Defects in Polk County, Iowa. Iowa Department of Health, $26,000.
  • 1995-98 Aggregation for Large-Scale Location Problems, (with T. Lowe); National Science Foundation (DMI-9522882), $80,716.
  • 1994-1997 Improving Public Health using Geographic Information and Analysis: Software Development and Dissemination. Awarded to G. Rushton and M. P. Armstrong, Department of Education (Fund for Improvement in Post Secondary Education--FIPSE), $227,126.
  • 1993-1995 The Spatial Pattern of Birth Defects in Polk County, Iowa. Iowa Department of Health, $14,500. 1993-95.
  • 1992-1994 Development of a Spatial Data Infrastructure for Transportation Planning and Public Policy Analysis, Awarded to G. Rushton and M.P. Armstrong, Midwest Transportation Research Center, (Federal and State Departments of Transportation), Year 1, 1992, $102,192; Year 2, 1993-94 $90,626.
  • 1989-1994 Development of a Decision-Support System for Improving Locational Efficiency of Service Systems. National Science Foundation, (INT 8821831); 2/1/89 - 1/31/94, Co-PI with V.K. Tewari, Collaborative Project with The Indian Institute ofManagement, Bangalore, (approx.) $175,000.
  • Identifying at-risk areas for targeting enhanced depression treatment. G. Rushton (PI). Seq. No. B695300. Awarding Agency: HRSA (through subcontract w/WICHE) 3/15/05 -7/31/05. $18,867
  • Small-area issues of race, poverty, and turnover in an SDSS environment: a case study of the Cedar Rapids community School District. G. Rushton (PI). Cedar Rapids Community School District. 10/1/04 – 8/31/05, $41,746.
  • Prostate Cancer Geocoding: Ensuring Fitness for Use. B. Greene (PI), G. Rushton (Co-PI), and Armstrong, M.P., Gittler, J., West, M., Zimmerman, D., Centers for Disease Control/Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) Cooperative Agreement, Project # S3111-23/23, Oct. 1, 2003 – Sept 30 2006, $750,000.
  • Comprehensive Assessment of Rural Health in Iowa (CARHI). K. Donham (PI), P. James (Co-PI), G. Rushton (Co-PI), Iowa Department of Public Health (Contract #5883CA02). Feb. 03 – Aug. 30, 2006. (Approx. $200,000 per year).
  • A GIS Based Workbench to Interpret Cancer Maps. G.Rushton (PI), B. Greene (Co-PI), and Armstrong, M.P., Bennett, D.A., Doebbeling, B.N., Pendergast, J.F., Pavlik, C.E., Peleg,I.I., Chrischilles, E.A., and West, M.M., National Cancer Institute (R01 CA95961) July 1, 2002 – June 30 2005, $1,300,000.
  • Development of High Resolution Population Distribution Data to Enhance Cancer Prevention and Control Research. National Cancer Institute (with Michele West, Iowa Cancer Registry and the GIS Group in Oakridge National Labs). July 2002-March 2004, National Cancer Institute. $167,664.
Selected Publications: 
  • Rushton, G., M.P. Armstrong, J. Gittler, B.R. Greene, C. Pavlik, M.M. West, and D.L. Zimmerman. 2006. Geocoding in Cancer Research: A review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 30 (2, Supplement 1):S16-S24.
  • Rushton, G. 2006. “Institutions and Cultures.” In S. Aitken and G. Valentine (eds.) Approaches to Human Geography, Sage Publications, London, pp.171-177.
  • Boulos, M.N.K., Cai, Q., Padget, J.A. and G. Rushton. 2005. Using Software Agents to Preserve Individual Health Data Confidentiality in Micro-scale Geographical Analyses. Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 160-170.. (available online at
  • Lai, S-M, Z. Shen and G. Rushton. 2005. “Factors Contributing to Unsuccessful Geocoding in a Population-based Cancer Registry. Journal of Registry Management 32 (4),169-174.
  • Tiwari C. and G. Rushton (2004) Using Spatially Adaptive Filters to Map Late Stage Colorectal Cancer Incidence in Iowa. In: Fisher P (ed) Developments in Spatial Data Handling. Springer-Verlag, pp. 665-676.
  • Rushton, G., I. Peleg, A. Banerjee, G. Smith and M. West. 2004. “Analyzing Geographic Patterns of Disease Incidence: Rates of Late Stage Colorectal Cancer in Iowa.” Journal of Medical Systems 28 (3), 223-236.
  • Rushton, G. 2003. “Public health, GIS, and spatial analytic tools,” Annual Review of Public Health 24:43-56. Available at
  • Rushton, G. (2001) Spatial Decision Support Systems. In N. J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes (editors) International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Pergamon, Oxford, Vol. 22, pp. 14785-14788.
  • Rushton, G., G. Elmes and R. McMaster. (2000) "Consideration for improving geographic information system research in public health." Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association 12 (2), 31-49.
  • Rushton, G. (2000) "GIS to improve public health: Guest Editorial." Transactions in GIS 4, 1-4.
  • Richards, T.B., C.M. Croner, G. Rushton, C.K. Brown, and L. Fowler. (1999) "Geographic information systems and public health: mapping the future." Public Health Reports 114, 359-373.
  • Rushton, G., and M. West. (1999) " Women with localized breast cancer selecting mastectomy treatment, Iowa, 1991-1996." Public Health Reports 114(4):370-1.
  • Armstrong, M.P., G. Rushton and D.L. Zimmerman. (1999) "Geographically masking health data to preserve confidentiality." Statistics in Medicine 18, 497-525.
  • Rushton, G. (1999) "Methods to evaluate geographic access to health services." Journal of Public Health Management and Practice 5 (2), 93-100.
  • Francis, R.L., T. J. Lowe, G. Rushton and M. B. Rayco. (1999) "A synthesis of aggregation methods for multi-facility location problems: strategies for containing error." Geographical Analysis 31 (1), 67-87. Erratum, p. 215.
  • Rushton, G. (1998). “Improving the Geographic Basis of Health Surveillance Using GIS.” in M. Loytonen and A. Gatrell, eds., GIS and Health, Taylor & Francis, London, pp. 63-79.
  • Chakraborty, J., and G. Rushton. (1998) "Projecting grade-specific enrollments for school catchment areas: an evaluation of two methods." Applied Geographic Studies 2, 157-175.
  • Densham, P. J., and G. Rushton. (1996) "Providing spatial decision support for rural service facilities that require a minimum workload," Environment and Planning B 23, 553-574.
  • Rushton, G., R. Krishnamurthy, D. Krishnamurti, P. Lolonis and H. Song. (1996). " The spatial relationship between infant mortality and birth defect rates in a U.S. City." Statistics in Medicine 15, 1907-1919.
  • Rushton, G. and P. Lolonis. (1996). "Exploratory spatial analysis of birth defect rates in an urban area," Statistics in Medicine 15, 717-726.
  • Onsrud, H. J., and G. Rushton, (Eds.) (1995) Sharing Geographic Information, Center for Urban Policy Research, Rutgers--The State University, Piscataway, New Jersey, 528 pp.
  • Ghosh, A., and G. Rushton, (Eds.) (1987). Spatial Analysis and Location-Allocation Models, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, Inc., New York, (x + 373 pp.).
  • Rushton, G. and P. Lolonis, "Exploratory spatial analysis of birth defect rates in an urban area," in press Statistics in Medicine.
  • G. Rushton, M. P. Armstrong, and P. Lolonis. (1995). "Small Area Student Enrollment Projections Based on a Modifiable Spatial Filter." Socio-Economic Planning Sciences. 29, (3), 169-185.
  • Densham, P. J., and G. Rushton. (1992). "Strategies for solving large location-allocation problems by heuristic methods." Environment and Planning A, 24, 289-304.
  • Armstrong, M. P., S. De, P. J. Densham, P. Lolonis, G. Rushton, and V. K. Tewari. (1990). "A knowledge-based approach for supporting locational decision-making." Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 17, 341-364.
  • Rushton, G., and J.-C. Thill. (1989). "The effect of the distance metric on the degree of spatial competition between firms." Environment and Planning A. 21, 499-507.
  • Rushton, G. (1989). "Applications of location models," Annals of Operations Research, 18, 25-42.
  • Rushton, G. (1988). "The Roepke Lecture in Economic Geography: Location theory, location-allocation models and spatial development planning in the third world." Economic Geography, 64, 97-120

Other Creative Productions:

G. Rushton and M. P. Armstrong, with assistance from C. Lynch and J. Rohrer. 1998. Improving Public Health Through Geographical Information Systems: An Instructional Guide to Major Concepts and Their Implementation. Version 2.7 of a CD-ROM distributed by the GIS and Health (FIPSE) project.