Mapping Ebola

Now that we have had a chance to evaluate the maps of the Ebola epidemic (see the links under Ebola on this blog:  right-hand margin), spend some time explaining your choice for the best map (or set of maps) by replying to this blog post.  Examine your scoring guide before and after you make your comments.



Filed under Geographical Perspectives, Population

14 responses to “Mapping Ebola

  1. EG

    I think the Health Map Organization had the best map because it was the most up-to-date map of the bunch, being updated weekly and even daily about the Ebola outbreaks in Africa. It is an interactive map with information that expands when a dot on a certain area is clicked. For instance, when I click on a dot in Northern Guinea, a box of hyperlinks to news articles and expanded knowledge appears with titles such as “Guinea confirms fever is Ebola, already has killed 59.” It is updated daily about the confirmed cases in parts of Africa, such as 771 cases and 494 deaths reported in Guinea as of September 4th, 2014. The timeline that is included within this map has how many cases and deaths that have been reported on each day since May 14, 2014, when the Ebola outbreak was most widely known about. With all of this information displayed, any onlooker has access to any details they would like to know about for this year. I would say the only fault of this map is that it does not have historical information like many of the others do, and there are no other charts or statistics to support it, but otherwise, I think this is a very intricate map that holds a lot of factual, not-overblown information in it.

  2. A.P.

    The map I thought did the best job of providing complete information on the topic was the interactive platform provided by Esri UK and hosted by the Guardian. This map contained an impressive amount of both visual elements (an overall map, additional satellite imagery and pictures from each place) and accurately distilled necessary information (giving the year, cases, deaths, fatality rate and strain of the virus for each country), but the map, in addition to being informative, provided a superior representation of the scale of the outbreak and the spatial discrepancies of its diffusion. The individualized information by country, partnered with the pictures, gave a sense of how the epidemic was experienced and dealt with on a local level (small-scale), while the adjustable zoom on the large continent map gave a greater sense of the disease’s overall impact (large-scale). The addition of both overall and individualized types of information was helpful in evaluating Ebola’s diffusion, as well, and provided a greater opportunity to compare the individual outbreaks to each other, which was helpful both in developing questions and drawing conclusions about geographic and spatial patterns when looking at how the disease traveled, including looking at the terrain views provided by the satellite embeds and analyzing the infection risks from looking at the pictures of health workers and the living conditions of inhabitants of infected areas, Overall, the Esri/Guardian gave a more complete picture of the Ebola epidemic than any of the other sources, ~A.P.

  3. Owen Fulton

    While each map presented had its merits, and each map certainly contributed valuable information to the discussion, I believe that the Guardian’s interactive map presented the ebola situation in the best way. Having an interactive map that displays information on areas of outbreak is one thing, but to also include real satellite imagery, pictures taken on the field at the time of the outbreak, as well as numbers and percentages of the outbreak itself is a truly impressive feat. It includes every outbreak recorded from the year 1976 all the way to the year 2014, from the smallest cases to the largest ever recorded in history. Reports of each outbreak are included in the map, providing information on the method of transmission, who were the initial carriers, and how long the outbreak lasted. The map also includes a graduated circle feature, visually displaying the size of each outbreak in its geographical location. On top of all this, it is presented in an easy to read and very understand fashion. I have no quarrel with anything in this map, although I think it would have been beneficial to include information on which strains of the ebola virus were present in each case (similar to the CDC’s map), but this is a minor concern. Out of all the maps we reviewed on Tuesday, this map was by far the most enlightening, and contained the best information.


  4. AC

    Our group used CBC News, this is a very well presented map. The reason for this is that it was very understandable, you were able to just look at the map and understand what it was telling you about. Below the map it showed us the functions of how the disease spreads and when it enters the human body what symptoms it gives off. Though this website may not give you enough information about this disease it still tells you enough for you to understand what it is and how it spreads.
    There are numerous maps you are able to choose from, which are really good maps. If you are wanting to see where the outbreaks are on this disease I suggest you go to WHO this website provides you with many maps from long ago to today using a graduated circles. Using WHO you may also find that it gives you many different scales of this map explaining to you the sizes of the graduated circles.
    Another interesting website to use is the BBC website. This website offers you many types of graphs and maps. It showed you how many people have been killed by this disease and gives lots of information about each graph/map. This website also showed you where the disease is and whether or not this place is more affected then another which is very helpful for who ever may be planner to go anywhere in Africa. Any of these websites would be great for anyone wanting information n Ebola.

  5. Hallie

    The map I find to be the most informative is the one found on The Guardian’s website. It is a graduated circle map and uses an interactive map powered by Esri. The map is favorable because of the amount of information it depicts through it’s different features.

    One of the features included is a timeline. Other maps had timelines, but this one had information that was both detailed and easy to understand. It shows the reader how the virus has evolved from 1976 to 2014 through pictures, and statistics. It gives details for each outbreak, including the number of cases and number of deaths, the fatality rate, and it zooms in so that you can see what kind of environment the outbreak started in.

    Seeing the area of the outbreak is important when understanding the story through maps because it offers another side to learn from. For example, if the outbreak started in an area with a lot of trees you could infer that the human to start the outbreak got it first from a certain species of animal in that area. This map used satellite images to clarify what kind of setting the outbreak originated in.

    I also found this map to be the most informative because of the information provided in the timeline. Not only did it inform the reader of the number of cases and deaths, but it featured a short paragraph about the cause of the outbreak and how/if the outbreak had been contained.


  6. AW

    Out of all of the maps available on the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Africa, I personally think that the HealthMap (a project of Harvard and Boston Children’s Hospital) was the best. It displayed relevant information is a clean and orderly manner, as well as having current and up to date statistics on the disease and it’s victims. This map did not waist space on past, unrelated cases of Ebola, instead focusing entirely on the current outbreak. Unlike any of the other maps, the HealthMap allowed viewers to go through and witness each stage of the 2014 outbreak from the first recorded cases all the way to today. Viewers can also zoom in and out of the map to get a clearer view of the infected areas, such as roads and boundaries. Clicking the dots representing infected areas takes viewers to more in depth information about that areas number of cases as well as it’s death toll. The HealthMap is informative and well laid out, and does the best job at displaying the entirety of the 2014 Ebola epidemic.

  7. DLY

    After evaluating the other maps presented by the students, I have come to the conclusion that the Guardian Interactive map was the best map shown to use for our classes purposes. This map uses graduated circles to represent the number of Ebola cases found in the various countries in Africa and provides an Illustrated timeline to show the effect the virus has had in the various countries since 1976. The Guardian Interactive map uses satellite images along with real-time photographs to accompany the various stories and warnings the site has to provide the readers. This map is great for readers who want an in-depth view on the Ebola epidemic. It is filled with various statistics and illustrations from multiple reliable sources starting with one of the first recorded cases in 1976 and ending with the most recent case of Ebola showing up in Senegal (August 30, 2014). The site seems to update on a regular basis meaning this map will remain a valid source of information for time to come.


  8. J. Liath

    Essentially, the set of maps I personally feel best portray the diffusion of the Ebola outbreak are none other than the maps by the Centre for Disease Control, or simply, the maps my partner and I were assigned. My feelings aren’t just because I was assigned this source, but because I believe it paints the best portrait and informs the public the best, as it was intended to do. The CDC maps display the outbreak in depth. One uses graduated circles to describe the cases of the outbreak, as well as the different strains in the affected areas, on a continental/country scale. The other, delves further into the outbreak, focusing on the affected areas of Guinea and Sierra Leone, displaying the areas of outbreak in red, and the affected areas with no known active transmission with hash-marks. The second map also displays the field laboratories, national laboratories, and Ebola treatment centres, which in turn could be used by those afflicted by the Ebolavirus to seek treatment. It may sound a tad biased, considering the assignment, but that’s certainly not the case in my opinion.

  9. KB

    The Guardian’s map of Ebola, in my opinion, surpasses the other maps shown. It used the popular graduating circles method which is very effective for showing where the outbreaks have occurred in Africa and approximately how many deaths there were each time. The map is also interactive making it easy to use and figure out information. It is possible to scroll down the story map. This feature provides information in chronological order about each outbreak. Another very useful thing about this feature is that it zooms to wherever the outbreak you clicked on happened, and will show a satellite image of the place. This can be used to infer why the outbreaks occurred in such a place or why it is spreading just by looking at how large the town is.
    The Guardian’s map is very detailed. On each of the outbreaks, the site provides the number of cases, deaths, the date, and a paragraph of extra information. The information provided explains the origin of the outbreak and new areas Ebola has been found next as a result. It also reports organisation’s communication, and coordinating control activities. The Guardian does an excellent job of summarizing the events that happened with Ebola since 1976 and putting it all together in a very detailed interactive map.

  10. KM

    Of all the Ebola maps analyzed on Tuesday, there were two sources that seemed to best portray the current epidemic. Those were source #6, the Guardian Interactive Map, and #7, from the HealthMap organization.

    Looking at all of these maps, there were two primary flaws I saw in all but those mentioned above. First of all, they were concerned more with the history of Ebola and how it has developed over time as opposed to the current issue. Graduated circles were used on these to mark areas that are or had once been infected, covering vast areas and not getting down to the specifics of today. The problem is that while graduated circles show where there are “bigger” problems, they are messy and often distort country and territory borders. In fact, one of the sources, the Centers for Disease Control (#4), actually lumped all of the 2014 cases into one larger case, placing far too much focus on past outbreaks. Second of all, another flaw in most of these sources were that they were created and left alone; that is, they are still projections that have not been and will never be updated. Meanwhile, sources #6 and #7 are interactive maps that are updated as the epidemic continues to spread.

    The Guardian Interactive Map is very detailed, depicting both regional and national cases. There are photos, descriptions, and statistics that illustrate both how Ebola has evolved over time and the status quo of the current epidemic. The site is organized almost like a timeline, making it very easy to maneuver. It organizes data by country (and can be broken down by region), making it easy to flip through and compare the similarities and differences in patterns of diffusion. The magnitude of different outbreaks is illustrated by graduated circles, showing where cases are most prevalent. Unlike many of the other maps, the zoom function of this website allows one to get a clear vision of the graduated circles and thus make a clear evaluation of the data. Overall, I would say this is a good source, but extremely detailed. If one wants to gain a full understanding of Ebola from the beginning up until today, this resource is an excellent place to start.

    HealthMap, source #7, is a little bit different in nature. Unlike all of the other maps featured, it deals only with the 2014 outbreak rather than starting from the beginning. However, it provides an extremely focused account, breaking down news by day rather than week or month. This map derives information from a variety of news sources to report total cases and death tolls on any given day, starting from March of this year. Although it does not show the scale of how large the cases are through graduated circles, one can see individual circles pop up where there are more cases as time goes on. It is extremely easy to use, and one can magnify certain regions and areas too. Additionally, HealthMap is unique in that because it is taking information from news outlets, it maps both the diffusion of Ebola and the spread of information; as the western world news sources report stories on outbreaks, the map is updated with current data. Unlike the Guardian Interactive Map, HealthMap does not provide history and information on the epidemic itself, just the movement of the disease in order to help spread awareness. So, I would conclude that both sources #6 and #7 convey the information accurately; the former, however, provides a detailed account while the latter is vocal in brevity. KM

  11. MJB

    From the maps shown the other day in class, I believe the map from mapped the diffusion of Ebola most effectively. This map is an interactive map with powerful zoom capabilities, allowing you to zoom out into a worldwide perspective or even zoom in to any specific street. Unlike any of the other maps, this map takes information about confirmed Ebola cases and deaths from news sources all around the world and represents them by plotting a small circle on the area it was confirmed. Every news report is chronologically ordered and allows you to see each Ebola case show up on the map as it spreads through time, allowing you to easily see any patterns of diffusion across borders, roads, or undeveloped areas. The map also keeps track of every case/death reported by the mass of news sources, so you can see how the amount of cases grow and spread from the time the epidemic first started. Compared to other maps, this one doesn’t show cases on a country-wide level. It only plots the cases in the exact area they were confirmed, thus helping avoid any miscommunication between the map and the reader. Another useful quality of this map is it’s method of showing both the diffusion of Ebola as well as the spread of information. You can easily see which news sources the cases are reported from as you navigate the timeline feature of this map, a feature only represented on this map. As a map created for the general public, this one is the most helpful and straightforward to any viewer.

  12. WP

    There were numerous different kinds of interactive maps, plain maps, graphs and charts on the many different websites that we had presentations on. A large percentage of the maps all used graduated circles which were a way of showing the amount of death or disease in an area. I found these helpful to look at, because instead of just reading numbers you are looking at shapes which helps you to interpret the data easier. The top three favorite and most informative in my opinion were the New York Times, Guardian Interactive, and Center for Disease Control.
    I found the article from the New York Times very helpful on a need to know basis. The map showed darker areas with more deaths from Ebola, and lighter areas with less. The site has articles about past outbreaks and even the chances of getting Ebola in the US. The article also has a timeline with circles showing the most harmful outbreaks throughout history. One downside of the site though was that the map was not interactive. One final feature that I enjoyed though was the article showing how you got Ebola and the animals that could contract the disease. Another map I enjoyed was the Guardian Interactive. This site took a different approach to the Ebola coverage and had a huge interactive geographical map that showed different dots all over it. When you clicked on one of the dots a story, year, and picture would pop up about an Ebola case that had happened. There were stories from all different times in history. The final site that I found the most helpful was the Center for Disease Control map. This map contained affected areas with graduated circles showing death from Ebola. The site had a grid that showed the town, cases, and deaths. There was another map and graph slightly further down the page that showed just the outbreaks from 2014. One part that I found particularly interesting and helpful on this map was that it displayed where you could find hospitals and health care centers that treated Ebola all over the continent of Africa.
    After a while all the sites became generic and contained the same data and pictures. The maps that took a different approach or added something extra were the maps that stuck out to me. Most of the maps contained an interactive map that would zoom in and out around Africa. They all mostly contained colors to indicated the amount of death or disease in that particular area. When I am trying to review a page I find it easier to analyze colors rather than numbers. Most of the sites contained a chart or a graph. These charts and graphs usually showed the death toll in a town and also showed the year. Some of the sites were more basic with just a map and a bunch a writing, while some had less writing a more interactive maps and charts.
    If I was doing a project on Ebola, the site I would probably use the most is the site by the New York Times. I felt like it displayed an enormous amount of information. It showed and compared things to help make it easier. It was very interesting looking at and reviewing all the sites and maps.

  13. BNCC

    I was very pleased with the map on Ebola That I used, which was CBC’s map . The map explained in detail about the diffusion of Ebola on the continent of Africa and carries of the disease. To show reader Ebola is and how many are effected and how many have died. Also on the site there is a graph with pie charts showing total deaths and effected areas. The legend is very helpful and the map is less distracting because they have only set it up to where you can only see Africa. you cannot zoom out to see other places. which is helpful but also there is a down side to that because you cannot compare with the rest of the world. I would highly recommend this map as a tool to help with a better understanding on Ebola. The map showed the whole story of Ebola and not just 2104 but also 1975.

  14. Alex C

    I was greatly impressed by the map made by The Guardian. There are very few areas in which it was not best. It had everything the other maps had, for example the timeline. It had a timeline similar to any other showing all the different outbreaks by location with immense amounts of detail, such as infected, death count, images and short descriptions. The imagery shown is always satellite images and is interactive so that you can zoom from the whole continent to very small villages dealing with the Ebola epidemic. It is also possible to see the diffusion through graduated circles and clicking on each gives details down to the actual species of Ebola that caused this infection. The map is very clean and uncluttered, easy to navigate and all in all a very good map. It doesnt show the fruit bat populations like my map from The Economist, but it is a very good map. It could have the scale be better as only some areas of Sierra Leone are infected and not the entire country. The graduated circles are big for what they really represent but most maps with graduated circles have this issue. There is a drop down legend that explains the scale without getting in the way and I like it a lot. Its source is reliable and each image is cited of things like field hospitals, scientists, and the villages that are hurt. These images really set this map apart because it helps me relate that these little places are being ripped with Ebola, having people getting taken away and really puts the whole epidemic into perspective. That is why I think the Guardian map is the highest quality map I have seen for Ebola.

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