Geographic information serves as the common denominator for any public health preparedness solution because location data is essential to every phase of planning, response and recovery. GIS scales to events ranging from inclement weather conditions to pandemics. It helps state and local governments scope out the extent of a public health crisis and predict the path forward for allocating resources and monitoring processes and outcomes. Maps and apps enable public health officials to coordinate efforts with other agencies and external stakeholders. The public health preparedness community can make major inroads by embracing GIS data, models, communication and engagement hubs and location-centric applications.