Focused Tools

Vending in Chennai

Many tools developed in other areas of planning and design are also useful in working on health issues. The following links demonstrate some of this range of checklists, audit tools, processes, mapping approaches, and the like. Most tools have been developed for practice but some research tools can be adapted as well.

GIS and Mapping Tools

  • Transparent Chennai is an online interactive tool featuring health related topics such as sanitation.
  • The English Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs has produced a terrific online noise mapping tool for many major cities in England.
  • The LEAN and NEAT GIS protocols for measuring food an physical activity environments were developed for research applications but can be adapted for practice.
  • The United States National Library of Medicine Toxmap online tool allows interactive mapping of environmental health related topics.
  • The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food  Environment Atlas allows interactive mapping of a number of food, physical activity, health, and socio-economic variables. It can be read in conjunctions with the Atlas of Rural and Small Town America that  focuses on demographic, economic, and agricultural topics.
  • Community Commons has a very useful map making tool as well as a tool for creating Community Health Needs Assessments.
  • The National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Mortality Maps are an easy-to-use way of visualizing this important health issue.

Assessment Methods


  • The Federal Highway Administration’s online resource sheet on “Identifying Pedestrian Safety Concerns Using a Walkability Audit” contains an excellent list of community, school, and bus stop audits with links of online versions.
  • Active Living Research: Tools and Measures provides links to over fifteen urban design and park audit tools, produced by researchers from a variety of institutions, including the University of Minnesota, Harvard School of Public Health, and the University of Western Australia.
  • The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center’s walkability and bikability checklists raise public awareness of these topics.
  • The City of Los Angeles has a walkability checklist that is longer and focused more on providing design guidance.
  • The National Collaborative for Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) Measures Registry is a database of measurement tools including many related to measuring physical activity behavior and the built environment; oriented toward research applications.
  • Standardized Questionnaires of Walking and Bicycling Database: A database with approximately 100 tools focused on physical activity.

Other pages on this site list planning tools, guidelines and reports.