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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

On the Go: USAID MEASURE DHS Data Available in New Mobile App

With pressure to base policies and programs on meticulously collected data, there is a need to make USAID funded Monitoring and Evaluation to Assess and Use Results Demographic and Health Surveys (MEASURE DHS) reports more readily available.  However, many developing countries have no access to a tangible library of DHS reports, nor a reliable internet connection to visit the MEASURE DHS website to access these surveys.

Luckily, the rapid increase in the mobile phone and smartphone usage  has given the MEASURE DHS team hope.  The popularity of these devices can grant anyone access to DHS reports, from policy makers in Washington, D.C. to remote communities in rural Africa.  In fact, according to Pingdom’s STATcounter, 15% of Africa’s internet browsing in May 2012 came from mobile devices, an increase of more than 150% from 2010.

With the help of MEASURE DHS technology partner, Blue Raster, the DHS Mobile application was developed.  MEASURE DHS mobile covers over ninety countries, including data on vaccination, childhood mortality, nutrition, HIV testing and prevalence, literacy rates, twenty other indicators.  It displays trends within a single country through Quickstats, and allows users to compare and contrast the most common indicators through a series of tables, charts and maps.  It also provides basic information about the individual surveys, such as sample size, timing, and topics included, and links to download the final reports, Key Findings, and fact sheets.

Recognizing the need to build an application that is available on multiple mobile platforms, Blue Raster, an Adobe Partner, utilized Adobe PhoneGap to compile both iOS and Android applications.  PhoneGap Build allowed Blue Raster to capitalize on their experience in web-standard technologies such as HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript to rapidly build and deploy the app.  Spatial data is delivered to the app using the ArcGIS 10.1 platform.  Basemap tiles are accessed from ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Online, and the Esri Javascript API was used to link the geometry and data.

The app also stores all the indicator and survey data locally on the device, and periodically checks for updates.  This functionality truly enables users to connect with the data, despite the absence of consistent internet, and allows policymakers and program managers to visit field sites without having to create massive, tangible copies of data or abandon the data completely.

The DHS mobile application is free and available for Apple iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android smartphones and tablets.  Blue Raster will work with the MEASURE DHS team to enhance the application with new features and continue to improve the user experience in the coming months.  For suggestions in improving the DHS Mobile application, please email mobile@measuredhs.com.

 

iTunes App Store Google Play

MOBILE APP MODELS HIV PREVENTION STRATEGIES AND OUTCOMES

Each year, nations spend millions of dollars on efforts to prevent HIV infections without completely understanding the most effective ways to allocate these funds.  To equip health officials and policymakers with effective decision-making tools, Avenir Health worked with Blue Raster to develop the Goals Express: HIV Impact Tool, a new tablet app for iPad and Android devices.  This mobile application will be used to examine how coverage for various HIV intervention strategies affects progress toward national HIV prevention goals, including the reduction of new HIV infections.

Goals Express, which was introduced at the AIDS 2012 international conference in Washington DC, is based on the Goals Model, a web-based simulation tool used to plan HIV prevention and treatment programs.  Similar to the web application, the new Goals Express app can be used to model the spread of HIV in a national population in four different epidemic scenarios (generalized, concentrated, hyper-endemic and injection drug-driven epidemics).  Tablet users can manipulate slider bars to adjust the coverage level for several different HIV interventions, including antiretroviral therapy and youth outreach, to identify cost-effective combinations of prevention and treatment strategies.

“We expect that this app will encourage people to explore different HIV prevention and treatment strategies and gain insight into the best ways to allocate resources in different epidemic settings,” said John Stover, president and founder of Futures Institute.  Goals Express, which was developed with HTML5 and deployed to iOS and Android devices using PhoneGap Build, is now available for download from the Apple App Store, Google Play and the Amazon Appstore at no cost.

iTunes App StoreGoogle PlayAmazon App Store


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