Health

From Data to Decisions on Global Malnutrition

Blue Raster recently worked with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to build a mapping application to highlight the multiple burdens of malnutrition in low, middle and high-income countries. This is a contribution to the growing research on the issue of the double/multiple burden of malnutrition globally. The interactive map transforms extensive tabular data from various resources into rich geographic visualizations, bringing the data to life in ways not possible in traditional reports.

Malnutrition Mapping Project

Intended as a policy and advocacy tool, the map allows users to analyze emerging issues and explore important indicators driving malnutrition. It provides country-level data and possibility to view the following:

  • Demographics
  • Undernutrition
  • Overweight / Obesity
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Risk factors, and
  • Protective factors

Cloud-based ArcGIS Online powers the interactive mapping. For rapid performance, Blue Raster leveraged ArcGIS Desktop to symbolize and tile the data, and ArcGIS Online to host and serve the tiled layers and feature services. Users can explore and understand the underlying data by selecting multiple variables simultaneously and viewing countries exceeding thresholds or missing data.

Indicator Analysis in GAIN's Double Burden Map


GAINBlue Raster did an excellent job under a very tight timeline. Their responsiveness to our needs and their creativity exceeded our expectations. We are very excited to share this policy and advocacy tool with researchers and other stakeholders around the world.”
-Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition

GAIN’s mapping tool is helping deliver a better understanding of the burdens faced by countries suffering from malnutrition. It provides new geographic insight and analytical capabilities, and will lead to better decisions on how to help the most vulnerable of the global population. Visit the site, and see how Blue Raster helped GAIN move from static reports to a powerful advocacy tool.

DHS Program Indicator Data API Opens Door for Innovative Apps

On the heels of the White House’s commitment to open data, Blue Raster collaborated with ICF International under The Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program to build the DHS Indicator Data Application Programming Interface (API). Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the API provides users direct access to over 30 years of Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data for more than 90 countries covering almost 1,500 indicators – more than 3 million records. By using this tool, developers, analysts, and researchers can obtain DHS data programmatically and develop applications that suit their needs.

DHS Program API Homepage

The API was developed by Blue Raster on the ColdFusion Web Application platform. Developers can query the DHS data using both a RESTful interface, which allows selecting parameters including countries, indicators, and surveys, as well as a conventional query-based interface which provides advanced options for obtaining more customized results. For those looking to query large sets of data, the API offers additional parameters that control the format, citation, and version information. Additionally, JSON, XML, CSV and HTML output formats are supported to provide users with flexibility.

DHS Program API Application Showcase

In the spirit of openness, the DHS Program has put together tips and code samples in JavaScript, ColdFusion, .NET, Python, R, Stata, and more to help users get started. You can even register to be a DHS API partner which allows you access to a larger number of entries returned per page and assistance in application development.

Trever Croft, DHS Program’s Capacity Strengthening Technical Coordinator, says:

“The DHS API provides a new level of access to DHS data. Blue Raster has produced a wonderfully simple but powerful tool that will power both the DHS website and STATcompiler as well as users and developers own applications.”

For more details, visit the DHS Indicator Data API website. Let us know if you build an app, and follow the API on Twitter (@DHSprogramAPI).

Famine Early Warning Systems Network New Website

How does USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) prepare for famine assistance to the world’s neediest? One success story is the Famine Early Warning Systems Network at www.fews.net.

Blue Raster assisted in releasing the new FEWS NET and is proud to partner with Chemonics International and Forum One in launching the new tool. Blue Raster automated the generation of forecasting maps for the 37 monitored countries, making the maps available sooner to decision makers. Two side-by-side comparative maps of food-security outlooks are produced for every region, and the countries are colored according to their food security, highlighting areas of Stress, Crisis, Emergency and Famine.

FEWS NET

FEWS NET is a collaboration of international, regional and national partners to provide timely and rigorous early-warning and vulnerability information on emerging and evolving food security issues. Once identified, FEWS NET uses a suite of communications and decision-support products to help decision makers act to mitigate food insecurity.

The tech behind the site are ArcGIS Desktop and Python Tools as well as ArcGIS Server delivering dynamic maps.  Node.js delivers both dynamic and static maps as needed throughout the Drupal CMS, with tight integration allowing Drupal admins to access maps for report pages during periodic updates. The servers are hosted in the Amazon Cloud environment taking advantage of S3 as well.

MEASURE DHS Launches the Spatial Data Repository

Blue Raster is pleased to announce the launch of the Spatial Data Repository (SDR), a  new open data tool that provides geographically-linked health and demographic data from the USAID funded MEASURE Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) project and the U.S. Census Bureau for mapping in a geographic information system (GIS). This new resource offers:

  • National and subnational boundaries of DHS regions can be visualized over time.
  • More than 1,500 DHS indicators and U.S. Census population estimates in GIS format.
  • Users without GIS software can make interactive maps of DHS indicators at STATcompiler.

Blue Raster leveraged the power of ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Online along with custom Python scripts to deliver all MEASURE DHS data in spatial formats (shapefiles and file geodatabase). Users can select indicators of interest (from more than 90 countries) and SDR will create custom data packages for download data .

Visit Spatial Data Repository for access to USAID’s first public and accessible global health dataset.

Spatial Data Repository

Clara Burgert, GIS Coordinator, MEASURE DHS explains,

The Spatial Data Repository has been innovative from the start, being the first time that global health was shared in a GIS format. This new version of the website continues that innovation with new tools and abilities which Blue Raster, a key partner on this activity, was a driving force in implementing. I am particularly pleased with the ability to select and download your own data packages and also visualizing the DHS regions over time. MEASURE DHS has such a wealth of data and resources – we are excited by the opportunities that the new website brings in opening the data to the geographic community.

The Spatial Data Repository is supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) effort to provide data for decision making and improve knowledge and understanding of the impact of HIV worldwide. Blue Raster partnered with ICF International to deliver this new open data platform for USAID.

MEASURE DHS Mobile Featured in Adobe PhoneGap Success Story

Blue Raster is excited to announce the Demographic and Health Surveys – MEASURE DHS mobile application is featured in a new case study publication by Adobe. Leveraging Adobe PhoneGap and Adobe PhoneGap Build, Blue Raster developed and deployed the application which enables users worldwide to access key demographic and health survey data provided by MEASURE DHS surveys. Since launching, the application has already achieved more than 1,000 downloads. See how Adobe PhoneGap and Blue Raster made it possible http://adobe.ly/11kdoB2. Get the app for your iOS or Android device today!

MEASURE DHS Mobile Adobe PhoneGap Success Story


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