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Visualizing the Swine Flu pandemic

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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. 

America – http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/04/26/us/20090427-flu-graphic.html

World (Updated daily – snapshot shown below)- http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/04/27/us/20090427-flu-update-graphic.html

NYtimes Swine Flu

 

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

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2009/apr/28/swine-flu-outbreak-mexico-pandemic

guardian

 

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/

h1n1

Ryan Goodman’s blog has a Google Map’s based visualization of America with information regarding the Flu outbreak in various parts of the country. http://ryangoodman.net/blog/index.php/c14/

HealthMap.org has a comprehensive visual representation of swine flu cases recorded so far – http://www.healthmap.org/en

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?

Written by alark

April 28, 2009 at 2:51 pm

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