The Daily Dot: How Doctors Without Borders is mapping the world’s epidemics
Ivan Gayton, the head of Doctors Without Borders in Nigeria, speaks on how new technologies have had an “astonishing” effect on his organization’s effectiveness.
“If you’ve got ways to visualize your epidemiology data spatially, it can help you figure out, ‘oh that seems to be along this river,’ or ‘that seems to be consistently in this size of town.’ Those kinds of observations are very hard to make from tables of data, but they’re actually quite easy to make from maps.”
In addition to professional mapping programs like ArcGIS, aid workers have been using Google Earth. Representatives from Google even visited Gayton’s team to help train them on how to use mapping tools. It’s experiences like this that revealed to Gayton the common ground shared by the tech specter and the humanitarian world.
Gayton said these tools will continue to be invaluable as climate change, food crises, and political instability around the globe are poised to shake up longstanding notions about how diseases spread.
But the maps serve another equally important purpose: convincing governments, agencies, and the general public to confront the realities of infectious diseases.
MSF and GOOGLE had a panel discussion at SXSW this weekend in Austin:
SXSW Panel: Adapting New Technologies for Humanitarian Aid
Sunday, March 11, 3:30pm
Austin Convention Center, Room 6AB
Original article here.