Maps, the essential tools to fight against pandemics (COVID-19)?

J. Snow’s map to fight Cholera

Since 1854 and John Snow’s map of the cholera epidemic in the Soho district, the importance of maps in epidemiology has been proven. John Snow used cartography to convince skeptical scientists of his theories about the origin of the cholera epidemic in London: contamination by water rather than by air. This visualization of the number of deaths near a water pump is the ancestor of the maps used today in the fight against Nile Virus, SARS, Zika, Ebola and Covid-19.

Essential monitoring tools

Disease surveillance is now a map-based activity. They allow the overlaying of complex epidemiological, demographic, environmental and infrastructure data needed to fight globalized diseases.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, they achieved the feat of being more present on television and in newspapers than epidemiologists. The maps were used by virologists, epidemiologists, public health officials and politicians to make or justify decisions that impacted millions of people.
Use of maps in all countries around the world

Visualize geographical disparities

The maps were used to visualize geographically the key indicators of covid-19 spread: number of positive cases, number of deaths, number of recoveries.

In this Global Covid-19 Tracker dashboard, the map is used as a filter for the other bar charts “new positive cases”and “new deaths”.

The map Regions of France designed by Ludovic Tevernier allows at a glance to see the differences between the regions for newly diagnosed cases.

Covid-19 en France

Visualize the evolution of the pandemic over time

Maps allow to perceive the evolution of the pandemic both in space and time. A simple “temporal” slider used with a map is enough to perceive the evolution of the pandemic day after day throughout the world and in the USA.

Visualize the impacts of the pandemic

The maps have made it possible to visualize the populations most affected and at risk from the virus. The New York Times used choropleth maps to represent several explanatory variables such as the intensity of the virus according to race and ethnicity in different American states.

How to create choropleth cards with Tableau ?

The map at the heart of interactive storytelling

The maps about Covid-19 had most impact when they are used to tell an interactive story “How covid-19 became a global pandemic?”. “How did the virus get out of control in the U.S.?” “How global air traffic was affected by the pandemic?” The zooming effects on the maps and the appearance of the legends via scrolls keep the attention on the story until the end.

How to do geographic storytelling with Mapbox?

[Webinar] “Make an interactive storytelling map” Lunchbox livestream

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