Anybody who works with me can tell you that I’m a bit of a closet mash-up fan on the quiet – the use of two different types of technology for one much cooler purpose is brilliant to me – and the “HealthMap – Global Disease Alert” site is no exception. All credit for the discovery of this site (by me anyway) should go squarely to my wife – she’s a Geography teacher, so you can imagine how excited her department were about this. The site has been around since 2006, but the recent SwineFlu pandemic has brought it back in to the limelight again – you can even follow the site’s blow-by-blow updates on Twitter if you’re a real worrier.
The Healthmap mash-up works by taking data from a range of sources – from news sites like Google to scientific journals and updates from the world health organisation (W.H.O.) It then categorizes the problem as either local or province-level, and gives them a “heat” score to show how virulent the outbreak is. Being an interactive maps means you can zoom around the globe at a moment’s notice and see what viruses and illnesses are being reported anywhere on the planet. Going on holiday? Why not check what the locals are going down with before you go! Have family in another country? Find out what they could soon be contracting! Bit of a hypochondiac? Find out what is going around in your local area and bingo – it could be what you’ve got! : )
All jokes aside, this is actually a really useful site, especially for world travellers or people concerned for their health. It’s really simple to navigate and understand, so I’m not at all surprised that it’s being used in the classroom too.
Coverage seems to be better for some countries than others – I’m off to France next week, but according to the Healthmap they are all perfectly healthy there at the moment. I guess I should be relieved! But scroll up to London where we are now and you can be re-assured as to what a sick bunch we are – in the past 30 days there have been regular reports of Influenza, Meningitis, Norovirus, Swine Flu H1N1 and many more…!
Somebody get me some handwash…Tweet