April 27, 2009 By Chad Vander Veen
With more than 40 confirmed cases of swine flu in the U.S. and the number expected to grow because of the virus's novelty, government agencies will be expected to respond quickly as conditions warrant. Thanks to the emergence of Web 2.0, several helpful online maps, mash-ups and wikis are available to help keep officials in-the-know. Here are a few examples, though it's nowhere near an exhaustive list:
The HealthMap is a Web Site that aggregates the occurrence of disease outbreaks and plots them on a map. The data comes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, World Health Organization, Google and other sources. The HealthMap has launched a map dedicated to swine flu.
A user claiming to be a biomedical researcher and who goes by the screen name "niman" has created a Google Map that tracks reported, suspected and confirmed Swine Flu cases.
Several user-generated wikis about swine flu are sprouting up across the Web. One example is at Wikia.
The Centers for Disease Control is maintaining a Web page with an official tally by state of confirmed swine flu cases.
Are you looking for breaking news in near real-time about the latest swine flu cases in your jurisdiction? There's perhaps no more powerful tool than Twitter Search, which is the search engine for the popular short messaging Web site. Citizens from around the world are posting thousands of updates per hour about the influenza's latest developments. It's a great example of "crowdsourcing." The Centers for Disease Control also has its own Twitter page.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.