Okanagan College Student Sean Heddle is working on a live GIS map tracking the spread of the COVID-19 virus through B.C. (Sean Heddle Image)

Okanagan College student designs map tracking spread of COVID-19 in B.C.

Sean Heddle says fighting complacency and misinformation is important

An Okanagan College student at the school’s Salmon Arm campus is using Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping to track the spread of COVID-19 virus through B.C.

Sean Heddle said he hoped to be able to share a live and regularly updated map tracking the number of cases in the province’s health authorities once the version of it he is building as part of his coursework at the college is complete.

Heddle was already sharing GIS Map images with up-to-date data on them to a Facebook group he created called British Columbia COVID-19 Tracker & Info. He planned to host the finished live map on the page when it is completed.

Read More: Okanagan man’s interactive map shows coronavirus spread

Read More: COVID-19: Social media use goes up as country stays indoors

Heddle’s information was from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). He hoped putting reliable data in map form would drive people to take the spread of the virus, and the BCCDC guidelines designed to slow its spread, seriously.

Heddle, who operates a graphic design and media company called 5ive by 5ive, made an earlier map for another school project that tracked the virus’ spread throughout China and into other countries during the early days of the outbreak. One of Heddle’s observations as he watched the virus leave China’s borders, was that complacency, both on the part of governments and individuals, was a major factor in the spread. He said he saw some of that complacency in Salmon Arm, but the situation in the United States was far more concerning.

Heddle said that as he watched the early spread of the virus he thought the it would have heavily impact countries with inadequate public health infrastructure, but he never predicted the U.S. would lead the world in COVID-19 cases.

Read More: High cost, limited coverage for asthma medicine a concern during COVID-19 pandemic

Read More: Ebus suspends services in Alberta and B.C. in response to COVID-19

That complacency, and in some cases denial that the virus was a concern, frustrated Heddle, but he thinks they can be fought by sharing accurate information. Heddle said he chose the colour-coding system of his map to convey the grim urgency of the outbreak. Health authorities with the most cases were shaded in a deep red.

“It sends the message that it’s critical that something be done…,” he said.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rain in Sunday forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Environment Canada calling for 15-20 millimetres in regions

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

WorkSafe BC conducted 70 inspections in the Okanagan amid B.C.’s reopening plan

WorkSafe BC has conducted 100 inspections at restaurants across the province since May 19

City hall refurbishment comes in nearly $500,000 over budget

Revelstoke City Council voted unanimously to move forward despite the increased cost

Williamson Lake to open June 1

The park will be open for day use as well as camping

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

PHOTOS: Okanagan residents capture epic lightning show

A look at some of the best shots of the storm on May 30

Big White Ski Resort to offer rebate for pass holders after early closure

Next year’s pass will include a 20 per cent rebate

‘No tick is a good tick’: Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

The foundation’s president said all ticks that attach to humans and pets can carry various diseases

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Most Read