HealthMap mines text for a global disease alert map

July 8th, 2008

HealthMap is an interesting Web site that displays a “global disease alert map” based on information extracted from a variety of text sources on the Web, including news, WHO and NGOs. HealthMap was developed as a research project by Clark Freifeld and John Brownstein of the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program, part of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology.

HealthMap mines text for a global disease alert map

Their site says

“HealthMap brings together disparate data sources to achieve a unified and comprehensive view of the current global state of infectious diseases and their effect on human and animal health. This freely available Web site integrates outbreak data of varying reliability, ranging from news sources (such as Google News) to curated personal accounts (such as ProMED) to validated official alerts (such as World Health Organization). Through an automated text processing system, the data is aggregated by disease and displayed by location for user-friendly access to the original alert. HealthMap provides a jumping-off point for real-time information on emerging infectious diseases and has particular interest for public health officials and international travelers.”

The work was done in part with support from Google, as described in a story on ABC news, Researchers Track Disease With Google News, Google.org Money