Mapping disease, satellite imagery, mobile health records, and technology forecasting were just some of the topics covered over “Tech Week,” the weeklong event series held at the Josef Korbel School. Highlighting some of the ways technology is being used in public health, development and even human rights fields to push projects to the cutting edge showcased technology as a tool for world change.
One specific technology, HealthMap, takes a combination of self- reported data, newspaper mining and doctor input to create real time map of epidemics around the world. At the forefront of public health mapping, the tech community is sometimes able to see epidemic trends even before the World Health Organization.
“You can give public health officials some lead time in dealing with epidemics,” said Dr. David Scales, a part of the HealthMap team based out of Boston’s Children’s Hospital.
While public health and crisis assistance featured prominently in the week’s events, these mapping technologies can also be used for tracking human rights abuses. An explosion of mobile and broadband technologies in the developing world has made these technologies not only useful but necessary for daily operations.
“Visualization of mapping resources is the power behind what we’re doing,” said Scales, noting that user generated information and the viral potential of these technologies provided an added validity.
Using the Pardee Center’s International Futures System for forecasting tech changes, one panelist noted the leap towards broadband in the Global South would put them on par with developed nations by 2050.
The events were jointly sponsored by the Global Health Affairs Certificate, Humanitarian Assistance Certificate and the Center for Sustainable Development and International Peace (SIDI).
- Sarah Crozier, MA Candidate, International Development
Josef Korbel School of International Studies