Synthesized population databases A geospatial database of US poultry farms

By Mark Bruhn, B Munoz, James Cajka, Gary Smith, Ross Curry, Diane Wagener, William Wheaton

Because they can spread to humans, infections and diseases in poultry and other livestock populations are of keen interest to public health officials. Officials need to plan for a rapid response, and to do so, they need information about where farms are located and how they cluster spatially. No public domain, nationwide database currently exists for actual farm locations. RTI researchers in coordination with University of Pennsylvania infectious disease modelers developed a new way to create a synthetic dataset that replicates the spatial distribution of poultry farms and the type and number of birds raised on them. The RTI method produced a more realistic dataset than the currently used random placement alternative. The results suggest the RTI method could be used to simulate other livestock farms of interest to infectious disease researchers.


Bruhn, M., Munoz, B., Cajka, J., Smith, G., Curry, R., Wagener, D., & Wheaton, W. (2012). Synthesized population databases: A geospatial database of US poultry farms. (RTI Press Publication No. MR-0023-1201). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press.

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Mark BruhnMark C. Bruhn, BS, is a research GIS analyst in RTI International’s Geospatial Science and Technology Program.

B MunozBreda Munoz, PhD, is an environmental statistician at RTI International.

James CajkaJames Cajka, MA, is a senior GIS analyst in RTI’s Geospatial Science and Technology Program.

Gary SmithGary Smith, MA (Oxon), MA (Cantab), DPhil, is Professor of Population Biology and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Ross CurryRoss J. Curry, MA, is a research GIS analyst in RTI’s Geospatial Science and Technology Program.

Diane WagenerDiane K. Wagener, PhD, was a senior epidemiologist in RTI’s Statistics and Epidemiology program and the Principal Investigator of the Models of Infectious Disease Agents (MIDAS) Informational Technology Resource at RTI International.

William WheatonWilliam D. Wheaton, MA, is a senior research geographer and director of RTI International’s Geospatial Science and Technology program.

Contact RTI Press

To contact an author, request an exam or review copy, or seek permission to use copyrighted content, contact our editorial team.