Visualizing Swine Flu on Virtual Earth

What the heck is going on with this swine flu thing? I was in the elevator at The Roosevelt last night and these guys are saying, “Don’t eat the carnitas (pork) no matter what.” Um, I don’t think you can get this new swine flu from eating pig, but apparently you get from any other normal means of transmitting any other flu strain – hand shaking, kissing, swapping spoons, etc. I’m buying stock in Purell. Well, while there’s quite a bit of information available about this swine flu some Microsoft Virtual Earth fans decided to map the outbreak, so here are a couple applications using Virtual Earth to visualize the outbreak.

image Live Search Maps has a collection highlighting reported cases (both confirmed and unconfirmed) and the routes they traveled between home and vacation / business where they apparently contracted the strain. The collection also has information about each point on the map. The official description is, “2009 Swine Flu H1N1 Outbreak and Migration Map - Map of 2009 Swine Flu H1N1 outbreaks and migration paths reported from news and government agencies. The map lists reported dates and paths of infected persons traveling.”


imageUMapper built out a version of the swine flu data which overlays raster tiles on Virtual Earth and renders it through a Flash interface. The heat map (which gets updated a few times through the day) shows the impact of the outbreak around the world where the hot areas are white at the center cooling off to orange and purple. You can how the flu has really taken off in North America as would be expected since the claim is that it originated in Mexico. Using the heat map, one could argue that it may have started in the US given the intensity in the respective areas. Perhaps the pigs were eating peanuts out of Georgia? Hmm. The UMapper map is embeddable so you can actually embed the application right in your own web page. I’ve embedded the mashup below, so be patient as it loads….

Bo Zhao, a University of Florida student, build out a sweet UMapper Swine Flu mashup on in Flash that includes the heat map mentioned previously, but also includes pins indicating flu outbreaks and sweet animations if there are multiple pins in a single location. You can switch map styles and toggle the pins on the map.


So, pretty much the same rules apply to any other flu…wash your hands, use Purell and don’t let anyone sneeze, breathe or spit on you…if you can help it. So, in the famous words of Jules Winnfield, “I just don’t dig on swine.”


Comments (5)

  1. athos454 says:

    Condition by Condition: Natural, Safe and Effective Treatments

    Are you looking for specific information about an alternative health treatment for an infectious condition? If so, this section of the website is for you.

  2. winwaed says:

    I have a thread listing the maps I’ve found, here:

    All these maps could probable be used in teaching good mapping. The quality and readibility vary a lot! Bo Zhao’s is definitely one of the better maps – and quite a bit better than the other UMapper map. The auto-clustering pushpins are a much needed feature of other maps. Some thought has gone into the parameters used in creating the heat map.

    Despite this, the BBC’s main choropleth map of the epidemic’s spread at  (Note: not their VE map) is one of their clearest. Presents the global picture in a succinct way, and adds the time dimension with a slider – something other maps don’t do yet. Edward R. Tufte would be proud!

    Richard @geowebguru

  3. Dharmendra_transform says:

    Colonial Medical Supplies just received new  shipment of 3M N95 Masks.   All of our distributors are already out of stock.   Once current stock is sold any additional shipments will be delayed.    Masks can be purchased at any one of our 3 retail locations or online at

  4. DavidParizekJr says:

    Funny t-shirts on swine flu!  Yes, swine flu is a sad thing, and we all want to see it stopped, but heh, you still need to be able to keep a happy spirit no matter what.

    Check em out:

Skip to main content