Our Work

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Power BI

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.

ArcGIS Maps for Microsoft Power BI: Make Spatially Informed Business Decisions

What is Microsoft Power BI?

Power BI is an award-winning business intelligence tool created by Microsoft as a single hub for tracking and managing many diverse assets within a given organization. The Power BI platform consists of widget-based analytical tiles from both Microsoft and their various partners. These tiles allow for a simple, professional, and customizable visualization of otherwise unmanageable amounts of business data. The straightforward user interface and intelligent feature construction means that dashboard setup and asset management is now faster and easier than ever before.

Let Blue Raster create and optimize custom maps in Microsoft Power BI to give you more control over your data than ever before.

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ArcGIS Maps Integration

ArcGIS Maps within Microsoft Power BI contains many map-building elements that are similar to those found in other Esri products, such as ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Online. The configuration tab is highly user-friendly, featuring “drag & drop” field population and automatic detection of spatial data types. ArcGIS Maps for Power BI accepts both point and polygon data types. It can recognize fields that contain standard administrative boundaries (such as zip codes, counties, states, etc). Automated geocoding of point locations and polygon centroid calculation help to reduce the time and effort of spatial data management.

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ArcGIS Maps for Microsoft Power BI provides basemaps and reference layers that are crucial to understanding the spatial context of business data. There are numerous basemaps to choose from to ensure a visualization that complements the symbology of spatially referenced assets. Changing the color schemes of data is also easy to do, with many hand-picked combinations and editable classification settings. Meanwhile, reference layers containing verified spatial data such as Median Household Income or Biodiversity Hotspots are great for showing the underlying geographic or demographic characteristics at any scale. Simple infographics cards display summaries of multiple key factors based on the extent of the map viewer.

The functionality of ArcGIS Maps for Microsoft Power BI also extends to light spatial analysis in the form identifying geographic patterns and relationships. Heat maps and clustering functions allow for the aggregation of data into overarching groups and regions, while location pins and drive time analysis help to evaluate smaller localities around individual assets. The maps editor even features support for temporal animation with a field that transfers time data into a dynamic map sequence.

Understanding the Geography of Business

Large companies with numerous clients, facilities, and/or assets often receive vast amounts of spatial data that go completely unused. ArcGIS Maps for Microsoft Power BI allows companies to harness the true potential of asset location in order to improve their business revenue and productivity.

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This program takes data connection and shared business management to the next level. Any interaction or data selection within the ArcGIS Maps tile reflects in corresponding changes to data visualizations across all other analytical tiles. Collaboration is also easier than ever before, as Power BI allows users to share everything from individual figures to entire dashboards with just a few clicks.

Blue Raster is currently developing a Power BI dashboard and map application to visualize, analyze and track data and information for an important health project. 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. Because the dashboard application needs to be accessible and usable by many users in many scenarios, the Blue Raster and TRACE teams decided on the ideal combination of Microsoft Power BI and Esri ArcGIS Online.

We are excited to grow our Power BI team and enhance our clients' business intelligence with the power of location data using ArcGIS Maps for Power BI.

Let Blue Raster kickstart your organization’s spatially integrated business dashboard. Contact us today!

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.