Responding to COVID-19 through our partnership with Esri – Get Live Maps, Data and Resources

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Health

Enhanced Visualization of DHIS2 Data

What is DHIS2?

DHIS2the District Health Information Software, is an open-source platform for data collection, analysis and reporting of healthy system data. Ministries of Health in over 60 countries use DHIS2 to monitor both aggregate and patient-level data. Blue Raster has had the opportunity to create enhanced visualizations of data collected and stored in DHIS2 using Power BI and ArcGIS Online.

What is enhanced visualization?

While the DHIS2 platform has inbuilt data visualization capabilities, Blue Raster found opportunities to optimize the presentation of data for decision making in the form of interactive dashboards using Power BI and geospatial analysis using ArcGIS Online. We determined that Power BI and ArcGIS Online were the right tools for the job, and we created an automated workflow to extract data directly from DHIS2 for processing and display in other tools.  

We put this workflow to use in our work on the TRACE project in Lesotho. These visualizations are helping to guide decision makers and contribute to the global fight to reach HIV epidemic control.

DHIS2 visualization

Why use those additional technologies?

Using Power BI and ArcGIS Online adds analytic value and the opportunity to customize the look and feel of DHIS2 visualizations.  

Advantages of Power BI: 

  • Additional data processing/cleaning prior to visualization 
  • Cross-filter and cross-highlight between different visualizations 
  • Drill up and down in geographic hierarchies 
  • Copy and paste specific visuals and export data from visuals 

Advantages of ArcGIS Online: 

  • Explore connections between data using customizable interactive maps 
  • Develop professional-looking web applications to visualize data using out of the box configurable tools 
  • Perform statistical and geospatial analysis using your data sets and sources from ESRI’s Living Atlas (library of curated datasets) 

How can I get started with my DHIS2 data?

Blue Raster can help you take full advantage of your DHIS2 data. Our expertise in human-centered design coupled with our technical expertise in Power BI and Esri's ArcGIS tools can help you make the best decisions at the right time using your data. Contact us today to get started.  

COVID Response Dashboard

Over the past few weeks Blue Raster has been working to assist State and Federal Government agencies in the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Providing a means to present accurate, up to date data to the public is essential to the success of mitigation efforts across the country. Blue Raster has been actively working to create Esri Operations Dashboards to do exactly that.

Virginia COVID-19 Social Distancing Dashboard

With Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS Online, Blue Raster created an interactive COVID response dashboard using Johns Hopkins University’s county level COVID-19 case data and Unacast’s Social Distancing Index to present crucial data in an easy to understand and consumable format. By using this data in a map-centric dashboard format with relevant figures, it allows for decision makers to view and understand the current situation and guide informed decision making.

Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard has been used globally to track the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak since it was first recognized in early January. In the past weeks, the University has been able to release more granular county level data for the United States to improve tracking of the virus. The JHU county level data updates often with the latest case reporting from across the country.

Unacast’s Social Distancing Index, now available as a dataset in the Living Atlas and as a standalone map viewer application hosted by Esri, aggregates the average travel distance of residents in a county and their average visitation to non-essential locations. Additionally, it assigns each county in the US a letter grade to represent how well its residents are adhering to the CDC Social Distancing Guidelines.

Customizable Dashboard Template

The decision to use publicly available data allowed for the rapid turnaround of personalized dashboards for the state of Nevada and Virginia based off of the same core datasets available in the Esri Living Atlas. Key information from these datasets are then presented in an easy to understand operations dashboard to summarize the current situation of a state. This has also allowed Blue Raster to create a template based off of these dashboards. We can quickly configure and deploy this template for an organization's internal and external use. As a result, State and Local agencies can also use these dashboards as a collaboration tool to aid in decision making.

Ready to find out more?

Contact us today to get started on your own COVID response dashboard.

Esri FedGIS 2020

The Blue Raster team recently attended the 2020 Esri Federal GIS (FedGIS) Conference in Washington, DC. The conference brought together over 5,000 GIS professionals from across government agencies to share their knowledge and explore new ways of leveraging GIS in their work. Over the course of three days, Esri staff and industry specialists held presentations and workshops on best practices for location intelligence and their experiences working within the geospatial data community.

Blue Raster's work with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) was highlighted in the FedGIS plenary presentation by Jack Dangermond, and our project with the Department of Education was featured on a Map Gallery wall.

Esri FedGIS Preconference Events

Esri FedGIS

Esri FedGIS

On Monday, Blue Raster had the opportunity to participate in two Esri FedGIS preconference programs:

  • The Partner Program brought together startups, emerging businesses, the Esri Partner Network, and alliance partners to understand how to effectively work with Esri software in partnership with Esri to drive success.
  • The University Student Program included sessions, workshops, and a career fair event for students in undergraduate and graduate degree programs with interest and experience in GIS and other related fields. Our team co-presented with the Esri StoryMaps team on Storytelling using GIShelping to showcase our work with the new StoryMaps for ArcGIS and present the features that StoryMaps has to offer.
    • New this year was the Esri FedGIS Career Fair for the University students. Blue Raster hosted a table for the career fair portion of the student program, where we had the chance to meet some great students on the cutting edge of GIS technologies, and discuss some of our career opportunities.

Presentations

Our team also had the opportunity to see some of the wonderful work that others are doing in the geospatial community, as well as present some of our own work.

Blue Raster team member Christina Nordling discussed How Agencies are using StoryMaps to Share Information.

Shannon Lindsay and Phil Satlof shared their work with Integrating Microsoft Power BI and ArcGIS for the TRACE Program.

Interested In Working With Us?

Reach out to see how we can help you harness GIS technologies, mapping solutions, and data analysis to tackle the challenges you face.

Field Report: Supporting TRACE in Eswatini, Rwanda, and Ethiopia

Implementing a business intelligence platform requires users to think critically about the business questions they want their data to inform and the underlying data systems that will feed their data visualizations. Blue Raster has had the unique opportunity to work with ICAP (of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health), the University of California San Francisco, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and Ministries of Health around the globe to put their data to work to end the HIV epidemic.

Ending the HIV Epidemic with Data

There has been significant progress over the past decade in the global health response to HIV, and the end of the HIV pandemic is within reach. Global health programs and Ministries of Health need high-quality, real time data in order to target the right interventions to the right populations at the right time, and we’re using Power BI and Esri ArcGIS Online to achieve these goals.

TRACE Initiative

Blue Raster and ICAP are working on the TRACE initiative (Tracking with Recency Assays to Control the Epidemic), establishing HIV recent infection surveillance systems in routine HIV services to detect, characterize, monitor, and intervene on recent infection among newly diagnosed people living with HIV (PLHIV). We are supporting the implementation of Power BI and ArcGIS to provide real-time data about recent infections and to deliver this data quickly to decision makers.

HIV Data Power BI dashboard

Power BI & ArcGIS Online

  • Power BI is a business analytics solution that lets users visualize data and share insights for real-time decision making.
  • ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based mapping and analysis solution that we’re using to make maps and perform rich geospatial analysis

Over the past few months, Blue Raster has been in the field with the ICAP team to:

  • Introduce Power BI and ArcGIS online as a data visualization platform.
  • Illustrate the analytic capabilities of the tools to the Ministries of Health and national Public Health entities

Blue Raster and ICAP walked through different implementation options with country teams, considering existing data systems and analytic tools. In addition, it was critical that HIV data get to the decision makers in a timely and usable format.

In Rwanda:

 

  • Held meetings with local implementing partners and the Ministry of Health and decided on Power BI and ArcGIS online licensing and deployment
TRACE in Rwanda
Bheki Magagula of ICAP Maps out the Rwanda Data Flow

In Eswatini:

 

  • We facilitated discussions in which the Ministry of Health team and the ICAP team came to a deployment decision quickly.
  • The teams were able to spend time working in Power BI and shaping the data in the back end of the system.
TRACE in Rwanda
Mpumelelo Ndlangamanga of ICAP works with Blue Raster on Visuals in Power BI

In Ethiopia:

  • Held a week-long training providing tailored content to data consumers, developers, and administrators (with participants from Ethiopia Public Health Institute, ICAP, and CDC)
  • Data consumers worked in Power BI and walked through decision making exercises using sample data.
  • Developers and admins walked through Power BI as a whole, from ingesting data to publishing/sharing reports to monitoring usage and incorporating end-user feedback.
TRACE in Ethiopia
Power BI Developers from Ethiopia Public Health Institute, CDC, and ICAP

These introductory workshops and trainings are just the beginning of our work with ICAP and country teams. Stay tuned to the blog for details on how this data is being used and how the trainings are adding value to the daily work of those on the front lines of ending the HIV epidemic.

Moving forward, ICAP and Blue Raster will have the opportunity to work with other countries in Sub Saharan Africa. For more information about the TRACE initiative and the countries we work in, please see https://trace-recency.org/ or visit our blog post.

The TRACE Initiative: Using real-time data to identify hot spots of current HIV transmission

The Tracking with Recency Assays to Control the Epidemic (TRACE) project is a new initiative that will contribute to the global fight to reach HIV epidemic control. With funding from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TRACE is being implemented with technical assistance from ICAP at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).

Power BIPower BI Dashboard

Blue Raster is developing a dashboard and map application to visualize, analyze and track the recent infections and identify hot spots where action may be directed. The dashboard application needs to be accessible and usable by many users in many scenarios. After assessing multiple options, the Blue Raster and TRACE teams decided on the ideal combination of Microsoft Power BI and Esri ArcGIS Online.

In the first year of the project, ICAP will support the roll-out of rapid recency testing in six countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Eswatini, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

Through TRACE, new medical and technological innovations are combining in a powerful way:

Medical:

  • TRACE is supporting select countries to begin implementing the use of Rapid Tests for Recent Infection (RTRI) which are capable of distinguishing between recent and long-term infections.
  • The test can be completed in 20 minutes during a routine exam

Technological:

  • Powerful, accessible and easy-to-use Business Intelligence platforms are in easy reach of public health organizations.
  • The explosion in online GIS and mapping capabilities brings the ability to analyze and visualize data by geospatial attributes to the screens of more people than ever before.

TRACE dashboard

 

Blue Raster is honored to support all efforts to reach HIV epidemic control through our work on projects like TRACE and the ICAP’s Population-based HIV Assessment (PHIA) project. Today’s availability of extensible, easy-to-use and cost-effective online tools will equip future generations with accurate and complete information about burden and distribution of disease. Furthermore, this will guide decision making to ensure that resources are efficiently allocated.

 


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