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Keeping in mind I'd get to form a team and select the people involved, I would have people with high technical knowledge to handle the stuff not many people know how to do, while I worry about the logistics.

Team members would be:

Programmers
Doctors
Pandemic Experts
Media cooperation
Web designers (if a dark site is not yet ready)

The plan would involve first a dark site - or an impromptu website that could be setup in 2 days of non-stop work. This site would need to have all preventive care information and, given enough time to prepare it, a Google Maps application to identify the nearest health centers and hospitals, as well as contact help lines and up to date news feeds.

Secondly, and here is where the programmers come in, it would be a Google Maps/Earth add-on capable of overlaying confirmed infection and diagnosis data onto the map itself. As an emergency response, this can probably be done in a few days if another add-on is used as a template. The data would be fed into the add-on by a dedicated server, where only certified medical facilities can enter data on confirmed infections and deaths, as well as their average laboratory result times and work overload.

The way these facilities would enter the information would be through an online form, which already has their location identified. This provides a quick and easy way for them to update the system with just a few key numbers, and the server-side script would take care of the rest.

Of course, none of this is useful without people actually using this information, so the add-on and real-time browser-based map would be available at the dark site and it would be up to the media to draw attention to it. As a secondary measure, social networks, like Facebook, Myspace and others would also be used to spread the information on the dark site (or brand new website) to as many people as possible.

On the team's side, all data would be analyzed by city, so it can compliment local map and infection overlay add-ons through Google Earth/Maps and provide overall numbers and infection patterns. Here the Pandemic Experts can use the information to geographically map patterns to identify the next critical areas of prevention and worst hit areas.

Within the week, this same system can be used to generate a real-time overlay that would look very similar to how new organizations already display weather and temperature patterns. This overlay can then be fed to media outlets to help people visualize the spread of the disease and what the next critical areas are.

A pandemic has a very short window of opportunity to act, usually lasting no more than a couple of weeks, so this is the end goal and most vital part of the plan. Once people can have a real-time and easy to access visualization of how the disease is spreading, they can take precautions accordingly and ramp up their safety measures as needed.

Often times, during a pandemic, people either do not take the necessary precautions because they do not believe themselves to be at risk, or they turn into a panic over a threat that they may not even be facing at the moment. Both panic and indifference are dangerous in this situations, but a visual and geographic representation of that risk can help divert both to where they are the most warranted and the end result is that survival rates, infection prevention and medical facilities turnout (ie. report accuracy) will all increase.

Again, under emergency situations, this could be done in a week by the right team of people working around the clock. Under normal (non emergency) circ**stances, it could be prepared as a "dark system" in about a month, ready to spring into action whenever the next pandemic or natural disaster hits.

The reason I say "pandemic OR" is because a system like this can be used for many other applications, from natural disasters to riots to even mapping urban flood zones during high rain seasons. In this case, it is just applied to a pandemic.

PS: This does not keep into account the possibility of crowd sourcing, and I would not use it except for the most dire and desperate of catastrophes. This is because crowd sourcing is extremely prone to bad, inaccurate, prank or incomplete reports.

Views: 24

Comment by A.V.Koshy on May 4, 2010 at 12:41am
wish we could work together some time...
Comment by Julio Cesar Corona Ortega on May 4, 2010 at 12:42am
I appreciate the sentiment and it is most certainly mutual.

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