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The EpiCanvas Infectious Disease Weather Map

An Interactive Visual Exploration of Temporal Correlations.

The EpiCanvas Infectious Disease Weather Map

EpiCanvas loads data from an SQLite file database. 

The database comprises of three tables:

  • data: your data in the form of (id, reported_date)
  • knowledgebase: you tags in the form of (tag_id, tag_name, tag_type, reportable)
  • tagged_data: a many to many mapping between the data and the tags (item_id, tag_id)


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P.H. Gesteland, Y. Livnat, N. Galli, M.H. Samore, A.V. Gundlapalli. “The EpiCanvas infectious disease weather map: an interactive visual exploration of temporal and spatial correlations,” In Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Vol. 19, Note: Awarded 1st place for Outstanding Research Article at ISDS 2012 and the Homer R. Warner Award at the AMIA Annual Symposium 2012, pp. 954--959. 2012.
DOI: 10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000486

epicanvas 1


epicanvas 2

Screen shot of the EpiCanvas infectious disease weather map interface showing various components of the system. Left panel: date and time interval selection, configuration options for GIS map, correlation lines, tag size, selected cases, and layout methods. Center panel: a tag cloud with 'infant' and 'respiratory syncytial virus' tags selected. The tag color differentiates between tag groups (ie, symptoms:green, syndromes:brown, age group:black, pathogen:pink). Right panel: GIS map with choropleth map symbolized based on incidence (more red = higher incidence) and showing zip codes where both 'infant' and 'respiratory syncytial virus' tags are active. Not shown are list of active tags, tag groups, selected tags, related cases line list and related cases time series graph depicting the counts of selected tags (both individual and shared) over time. Two panels depicting gastrointestinal and respiratory outbreaks. (A) Temporal, by week, snapshots of the EpiCanvas interface between 1 July 2007 and 2 September 2007 (top panels) with the matching epidemic curve showing weekly counts of positive cryptosporidium laboratory tests (lower panel). Top left: the first laboratory-confirmed cryptosporidium case (pink pathogen tag) clustering with the tags 'abdominal pain', 'vomiting' and 'gastrointestinal'; a number of respiratory pathogens clustering with 'fever,' 'constitutional' and 'respiratory'. Top center: increasing size of 'cryptosporidium' tag with the tags 'preschool' and 'children' clustered nearby. Right panel: outbreak peaking. (B) EpiCanvas interface during the week of 12 January 2008 when respiratory syncytial virus was peaking and influenza activity was moderate. Left panel: the 'respiratory syncytial virus' tag dominates clustering with 'respiratory distress', 'cough' symptom tags and the 'respiratory' syndrome tag; the 'influenza' tag is also noted clustering with 'preschool', 'vomiting', 'Salt Lake City' and 'fever'. Middle panel: clicking on the 'influenza' tag reveals details including the associated spark line indicating 12 cases in the past week and the correlation lines with 'infants', 'fever' and 'respiratory'. Right panel: further selecting 'fever' reveals that 10/12 laboratory-confirmed infections presented with fever and reveals the correlation between 'fever' and 'infants' and 'fever' and 'Salt Lake City'. Had the user selected 'influenza' and 'infants', they would discover that 11 of the 12 laboratory-confirmed influenza infections were in infants.