Next Steps

Lessons 1 and 2 highlighted new and innovative ways that geospatial technologies are used to map and support political change in the world or to simply map topics of interest. Part of the success is the vast amount and range of information provided by citizens from around the world. This group effort provides large databases that are used to mobilize and visualize change. Despite these early achievements, Lesson 2 cautions against loss of personal privacy and risks of providing one's spatial information.

An enrichment activity is developed for classes and students who desire to further explore about the spatio-temporal pattern of flu trends as detected by Google searches.

Enrichment Activity: Explore Google Flu Trend

This enrichment activity explores how web search queries provide another way to predict flu trends in the U.S. Flu search activity is based on compiled search query data about flu on Google search engine. The 'baseline' level for each region is an average of flu search activity measured over many seasons. Activity levels (e.g., minimal to intense) for each region represent how much flu search activity differs from that region’s 'baseline' level. In the graph below, the baseline level is at "0" or "Minimal".

Google Flu Trends
Source: ©2012 Google

1. Learn how data are mined from the Internet and mapped for flu information. Click here to learn how it works.

2. The map below shows flu search queries online (also known as flu activity) and is updated to show near real time data. This map was last reviewed on Sunday, April 15, 2012.  As of this date, U.S. is a yellow color, compared against the legend on the left, flu searches online is moderate. Australia, Brazil, and Spain all have minimal flu activity or little online searches for flu information.

Google Flu Trends
Source: ©2012 Google

3. Click on Google flu trend. Click on the U.S. to see flu activity for 2011-2012, represented with a graph and a map by states. 

4. Click on the state you live in to see how flu searches differ by month in 2011-2012.

5. Click on "Compare flu trends across regions in Public Data Explorer" at the bottom right of the main Google flu trend page. Compare two countries, each from a different continent.

6. To see the data mapped on a 3-d sphere, download the KMZ file. At the bottom center of the Google flu trend page, click on "Animated flu trends for Google Earth" to download the file. If you do not have Google Earth on your computer, download this for free here.

7. With Google Earth open, click on "File" then "Open" and navigate to where you saved the KMZ file to open it.

8. The flu activity data will be shown on a sphere. Click on a country to see the data graphed.

9. Select a second country to compare and identify if differences exist.

Google Flu Trends Mapped with Google Earth
Source: ©2012 Google

To learn how you can contribute Volunteered Geographic Information to various causes and activities, explore suggested webpages below:

  • Geocaching is a "hide-and-seek" game using a GPS. Your latitude/longitude entries become clues for others to find!
  • You can add spatial information to update such topics as cycle or transport on OpenStreetMap
Next Steps Tooltip

RealEyes staff look to be a bunch of happy campers!

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