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NIghttime Light Maps Predict Epidemics and other Heath GIS News

Tuesday, December 20th 2011
By Adena Schutzberg

Princeton University-led researchers report in the journal Science (9 December) that nighttime-lights imagery presents a new tool for pinpointing disease hotspots in developing nations by revealing the population boom that typically coincides with seasonal epidemics. In urban areas with migratory populations, the images can indicate where people are clustering by capturing the expansion and increasing brightness of lighted areas. The researchers found the technique accurately indicates fluctuations in population density - and thus the risk of epidemic - that can elude current methods of monitoring outbreaks.


A group of Penn Medicine researchers is set to save lives with cell phone cameras -- and they're challenging the public to help. The MyHeartMap Challenge, a month-long contest slated to take place beginning in mid January, will send thousands of Philadelphians to the streets and to social media sites to locate as many automated external defibrillators (AEDs) as they can. The contest is just a first step in what the Penn team hopes will grow to become a nationwide, crowd-sourced AED registry project that will put the lifesaving devices in the hands of anyone, anywhere, anytime.Armed with a free app installed on their mobile phones, contest participants will snap pictures of the lifesaving devices -- which are used to restore cardiac arrest victims' hearts to their normal rhythm – wherever they find them in public places around the city.

- press release via AnyGeo

The NHS Atlas of Variation 2011, published by the Department of Health (DH) this month, highlights the amount each Primary Care Trust (PCT) spends on clinical services and links this with health outcomes.

Consisting of 71 maps, the Atlas is aimed at helping commissioners learn from one other, consider the appropriateness of a service, and investigate when clinical health outcomes are not reflecting the financial investment that has been made. 

This is the second year the Atlas has been produced.

- British Journal of Healthcare Computing

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