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Change the world

22/05/2020

Honours student in Geographical Information Systems, Michelle Lee, created an operational dashboard for Covid-19 in South Africa as part of her methodology for her research project this year.  The map is similar to the famous Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 map.

Michelle says her research is still in its beginning phase, but her study will assess the role of interactive mapping for disease surveillance. 

She used ArcGIS Online software to create the operational dashboard, which is easily accessible on SA operational Dashboard and she will later also develop a mobile version. 

“I initially wanted to do a project on how load shedding affects traffic congestion in major cities but I later decided to go with the Covid-19 study. 

At first, I was baffled having to choose between these two topics but my supervisor, Dr Wilma Britz, GIS (Geographical Information Systems) lecturer in the Geosciences Department, said I should choose the topic I am most passionate about. 

Everybody knew that I was obsessed with the Coronavirus since it became a global outbreak at the end of January.  So, the topic kind of chose me”, she laughs.

“My research will essentially be a medical geography study, a new field which has not yet reached its full potential.  Scientists are relying more and more on spatial data as a tool for disease surveillance. 

It’s important to map infectious diseases, like Covid-19, because it tells us the origin of the disease and also how it develops over time. 

Spatial visualisation helps us understand the relationship between man and his environment.  My operational dashboard is a visualisation tool that can be used by health professionals and the general public”, Michelle says.

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160
elma.dekoker@mandela.ac.za