Visualizing the Swine Flu pandemic
Given the recent news about the outbreak of Swine Flu in many parts of the world, it has been interesting to see what kind of visual representations do newspapers, websites and print media use to convey the spread of the flu.
The NYTimes has some very insightful visualizations that provide information regarding the swine flu outbreak in America as well as the world.
World (Updated daily – snapshot shown below)- http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/04/27/us/20090427-flu-update-graphic.html
I thought the British Newspaper Guardian did a great job of providing and visualizing the data worldwide. It would have been a bit more interesting if they would have been able to show the entire globe effectively instead of providing the interactive widget, which is a bit limited I think. The link provides an updated visualization, a snapshot of which is shown below
Paul Kedrosky’s blog has an interesting mashup of visualizing the flu in Mexico that used Google Trends to visualize the outbreak in parts of Mexico. http://paul.kedrosky.com/archives/2009/04/visualizing_swi.html
You can see what people are twittering about Swine Flu in real time at http://spy.appspot.com/find/swine%20flu%20epidemic?latest=25
Heatmaps are a widely used visualization technique that is slowly being used widely to convey information. Danyel Fisher from Microsoft Research had discussed their use for drawing a viewer’s attention to a region of interest in his IEEE paper – “Hotmap: Looking at Geographic Attention“, IEEE Computer Society, Nov. 2007 .
The H1N1 Swine Flu Map as shown on UMapper uses Heatmaps to visualize the spread of Swine Flu. A snapshot is shown below, whereas an updated version can be found at http://www.umapper.com/maps/view/id/30340/
I wonder if these are still the best ways to visualize the data out there. There is some data on Guardian’s website at http://www.guardian.co.uk/data-store. There is constantly updated data at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website: http://www.who.int/csr/don/en/ as well as information regarding America at the CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/
Have you seen any interesting visualizations that convey the spread better?