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An i-sense workshop: Innovations in mapping and spatial epidemiology

Home > News > I Sense Workshop Innovations Mapping and Spatial Epidemiology

On 23 November 2018, Professor Rosanna Peeling, along with Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr Noah Fongwen, and PhD student Jobie Budd led the Innovations in mapping and spatial epidemiology: potential applications in public health practice i-sense workshop.



The main aim of the workshop was to discuss how different i-sense Flagships could apply mapping and spatial epidemiology to help track, test, and treat infectious diseases.

During this meeting attendees heard from speakers with experience ranging from health policy and geo-spatial modelling to those with industry perspectives.

Prof Rosanna Peeling opened the workshop by calling for combined digital health surveillance including mapping to target and tailor interventions, and shared the example of the Chipatala cha pa Foni programme in Malawi.

In his talk advisory board member and scientific advisor for the UK Department for International Trade, Dr Mike Short, explored how increasing mobile phone ownership in Africa could shape health interventions.

Advisory board member, Andrew Eland, previously engineering director at DeepMind Health, spoke about the visualisation lessons learned from his time at Google Maps.

PhD student Jobie Budd gave a summary of how mHealth can inform the geo-spatial modelling of infectious diseases, and talked about his mapping work showing how the digital divide could exacerbate health disparities in lower income countries.

Dr Sarah Wise from CASA spoke about the Missing Maps project, how mapping volunteers helped in the Ebola outbreak, and the opportunities of agent-based modelling in predicting the spread of infectious diseases.

In the first group activity, designed by i-sense PhD Student David Concannon, attendees were quizzed on their interpretation of map designs, and encouraged to consider how spatial data can be best presented.

Dr Ed Manley reported on the i-sense dashboard developed at Africa Health Research Institute to visualise HIV prevalence in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Kim Viljoen from GSMA gave a talk highlighting examples from industry where mobile big data has been used to identify disease hotpots.

Dr Chantal Hendriks, a post-doctoral researcher from the Oxford Big Data Institute introduced the Malaria Atlas Project and the use of satellite imagery to explain spatiotemporal patterns of Malaria.  

Dr Dan Frampton spoke about the mapping and visualisation of sequencing data.

In the closing group activity, 'Outbreak!', designed by Jobie Budd, participants were given scenarios to role-play as stakeholders in developing connected surveillance systems, as part of an outbreak simulation. Stakeholders were encouraged to collaborate, and participants voted on the best collaborative solution to halt the outbreak.

A list of mapping resources and data was collated and made available to all participants following the workshop.

Outcomes following the workshop:

  • An invitation to present i-sense work at the Mobile World Congress 2019
  • The workshop's 'Outbreak!' group activity was shared with GSMA with the intention to use in future workshops
  • Engagement with PHE has led to invitations for i-sense members to a PHE course on infectious disease modelling
  • i-sense members have contributed to the Humanitarian Open Street Map Team's 'Missing Maps' project