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WebMD LBS Asthma App and other Health GIS News

Tuesday, February 12th 2013
By Adena Schutzberg

WebMD Health Corp. (Nasdaq: WBMD), the leading source of health information, announced today its new WebMD Allergy app for the iPhone,  an innovative new mobile resource that empowers consumers to take control of their allergies. It is the first free app to provide allergy sufferers with personalized location-based allergy condition forecasts in combination with WebMD's trusted information and insights.

 
Research from a team published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Biology recaps the state of global infectious disease mapping:

The primary aim of this review was to evaluate the state of knowledge of the geographical distribution of all infectious diseases of clinical significance to humans. A systematic review was conducted to enumerate cartographic progress, with respect to the data available for mapping and the methods currently applied. The results helped define the minimum information requirements for mapping infectious disease occurrence, and a quantitative framework for assessing the mapping opportunities for all infectious diseases. This revealed that of 355 infectious diseases identified, 174 (49%) have a strong rationale for mapping and of these only 7 (4%) had been comprehensively mapped. A variety of ambitions, such as the quantification of the global burden of infectious disease, international biosurveillance, assessing the like- lihood of infectious disease outbreaks and exploring the propensity for infectious disease evolution and emergence, are limited by these omissions. An overview of the factors hindering progress in disease cartography is pro- vided. It is argued that rapid improvement in the landscape of infectious diseases mapping can be made by embracing non-conventional data sources, automation of geo-positioning and mapping procedures enabled by machine learning and information technology, respectively, in addition to harnessing labour of the volunteer ‘cognitive surplus’ through crowdsourcing.

- original article (under CC) via @re_sieber

Resarchers in New Zealand have mapped countrywide "dooring" accidents between cars and bikes. Dooring is when a car door opens into the path of a cyclist. I happened to me once. It totalled my bike. The driver asked "Why don't you ride your bike on the sidewalk?" "It's illegal," I noted. The good news? Such mapping helps identify areas of concentration and because the groups used Google Maps they could drill down using StreetView to see what factors might be in play.

Using Google Maps™ to map and display locations of dooring incidents can be a useful tool for looking at specific crash patterns with reasonable spatial precision and added capabilities. Streets with higher dooring risks can be readily identified in several specific urban settings with New Zealand’s small population and five years of data. To our knowledge, this is the first national interactive dooring map, while some cities are using similar tools.

- University of Otago Blog

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