GIS and the tracking of AIDS

As we have just observed World AIDS Day, it’s a good time to examine the application of GIS to this global epidemic.

The BBC has an in depth feature that shows the progression of HIV/AIDS in the world. It really helps demonstrate the most affected areas and the progression throughout the years, especially in Africa. I think it is a cool application of GIS because the maps help you see just how big the spread of the virus is. I personally did not know until I saw this, that HIV was a major problem in Russia. I find the BBC uses GIS alot, they have another section helping visualizing the spread of the avian flu.

A specific instance of the BBC’s use of GIS in tracking AIDS is the best case scenario for 2010. The Best case scenario in 2010 is based on a study that estimated the possible effects that preventative action could have on the spread of HIV/AIDS. It contrasts predicted infections with figures from 2002. Even though the disease is still predicted to expand greatly, the estimated 29 million people that could be spared from infection is demonstrated by the grey persons. The areas that would benefit the greatest from these preventative measures are Sub- Saharan Africa and South and South East Asia. The use of a person icon as a symbol–each person represents about 1 million people–helps the viewer see just where the disease is more prevalent. Moreover, after looking at all the maps, one can obtain a full understanding of the future of HIV/AIDS virus. We are so often bombarded with facts about HIV/AIDS, this application brings greater meaning and understanding to all the statistics and predictions about its spread.

The use of GIS when dealing with these topics, I find, helps people see the global ramifications and understand such widely discussed topics better.

Thanks to a student in the Intro GIS course for the post.

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