Sophie T. Breitbart1 and Emily Weigel2
1Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3B2, Canada
2Department of Biological Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332
Corresponding author: Sophie T. Breitbart (email@example.com)
THE ECOLOGICAL QUESTION
How can we harness geographic information systems (GIS) to understand how the magnitude and spatial distribution of disease changes over time?
Disease ecology, viral infections, spatio-temporal spread of disease, geographic information systems (GIS), epidemiology
WHAT STUDENTS DO
Students transform tabular epidemiological data into a series of dynamic maps to narrate a disease outbreak spatially and verbally.
- Format, clean, manipulate with functions, and practice quality control of raw data
- Create ESRI Story Map and learn basic GIS skills to organize spatio-temporal data
- Synthesize principles of disease ecology to analyze and predict areas of high risk to public health
- Practice clear communication of scientific data by developing and justifying strategy to handle outbreak
At the end of this activity, students will demonstrate their ability to understand basic principles of disease transmission, convey real epidemiological data as visual stories, and develop a plan to handle a “real” outbreak. Instructors may evaluate students’ knowledge and comprehension of the basic principles of disease transmission by analyzing how students’ initial and final hypotheses changed throughout the exercise, as well as by assessing the introductory section of their presentations. Students will demonstrate their ability to apply their understanding of disease ecology to a real situation by reporting how an outbreak evolved over time, expressed through dynamic maps in their presentations. Instructors may assess the students’ presentations for both Story Map accuracy and ability to synthesize information in order to create a plan to handle the outbreak. The “Guidelines for Student Assessment” in the Faculty Notes section explicitly link the initial skills outcomes with the learning objectives by providing several ways for students to demonstrate their learning of the skills.
- Georgia Tech Stamps Health Services. 12/6/2017. Approved for on-campus use and distribution.
- State of California, Department of Public Health. (2017). Infectious Disease Cases by County, Year, and Sex. Available from California Open Data Portal Website: httpss://data.ca.gov/dataset/infectious-disease-cases-county-year-and-sex
- State of California, Department of Public Health. (2018). West Nile Virus Cases, 2006-present. Available from California Open Data Portal Website: httpss://data.ca.gov/dataset/west-nile-virus-cases-2006-present
Description of Resource Files:
- Instructor powerpoint on SIR models
- Original Norovirus dataset
- Intermediate Excel files used to generate ultimate Excel files that are uploaded to the Story Map interface
- Excel files that are uploaded to the Story Map interface (for instructors wanting to shorten the exercise)
We would like to thank Georgia Tech Stamps Health Services for the dataset that inspired this lab and the QUBES network for valuable feedback on its design. We thank Mitchell Irving, Lindsay S. Miles, Samreen Munim, Madeleine Oman, and Felipe Torres Vanegas, as well as our many students for their feedback on the lab.
Sophie T. Breitbart and Emily Weigel. February 2019, posting date. Visualizing a Disease Outbreak Using ESRI Story Maps. Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology, Vol. 15: Practice #1 [online]. https://tiee.esa.org/vol/v15/issues/data_sets/breitbart/abstract.html