Chasing the Flu With an Interactive Map

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


What happens when you mix a new flu with new supercomputing power with new superspeedy genome sequencing with a new trend toward the free sharing of scientific data with the supertool Google Earth?

You get Routemap: a visualization of disease transmission based on genetic sequencing.

Translation: You can see where and how disease is spreading in near-real time on a Google Earth map of the world. (FYI: You might have to install a Google Earth plug-in. You will have to leave this page to play with the map.)

It’s up and running right now for H1N1—an interactive routemap for the ongoing geographic transmission based on 461 full genomes of the pandemic flu. It’s like a vaccination against ignorance. Watch the flu spread. See where it came from and where it’s going. Get out of the way.

The visualizations are originally the outgrowth of a study linking many powerful computer systems to analyze huge amounts of genetic data collected from all publicly available isolated strains of the H5N1 virus—that is, of the avian flu. The researchers developed the means to visualize their results in Keyhole Markup Language for virtual globes. Their paper on flu tracking is in Cladistics.

Researchers can use the site to data share. The rest of us can watch the data spread.
 

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate