Student sets up map to monitor Covid-19 in Nigeria

Benjamin Pam has created the thermal imaging map to show the concentration of cases within Nigerian states.

Grace Dean
6th May 2020

An interactive map has been set up by a Newcastle student to track the spread of Covid-19 in Nigeria.

Final year Economics and Mathematics student Benjamin Pam, from Plateau State, Nigeria, launched the website and created the heat map to visually represent the data released each day by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control.

Describing his motivations for setting up the website, Benjamin said: "I realised that the Covid-19 data was being provided numerically, but the question was, what does it actually look like? The maps I have come across simply indicate totals by country but not the localised concentration of cases at a state level within the country.

"As opposed to spending the lockdown dwelling on how bad things have gotten, I decided instead to try and contribute to the collective effort to curb Covid-19 by putting the skills I have acquired to use. By illustrating the extent to which the virus is spreading and deploying it as an online tool in the form of a website, I knew that I could make the information widely accessible and help raise more awareness as the situation develops."

Benjamin hopes that this will be a useful tool for the country to monitor and analyse the situation as it work towards creating practical solutions to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Nigeria. It is designed for both residents and policymakers to indicate the concentration of cases within their own states and the rest of the country.

Data accurate as of 5 May 2020

In addition to thermal imaging, which shows which regions of Nigeria have the most cases of the virus, there are pins with information windows that can be clicked to view the actual data being gathered from the various states.

Benjamin created the website using his experience with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and GIS alongside skills in UI design he gained from an Apple workshop he attended, saying: "I have always been particularly interested in technology as a powerful tool which can be harnessed to solve a lot of problems which humanity faces to the benefit of everyone." To set up the website, he also had to learn how to generate an interactive map and overlay a heatmap to illustrate data spread over geographical regions.

Benjamin is remaining in Newcastle over lockdown. "It has been difficult being away from family especially with the emergence of this pandemic. However, tools such as Whatsapp and Zoom have made it possible to stay in constant communication as we continue to encourage and support each other.

"My hope is that with the information we currently have about the pandemic, we all take the necessary measures to protect ourselves and others and be pillars of support for each other during these trying times."

Benjamin's website can be accessed here.

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AUTHOR: Grace Dean
Editor-in-Chief of the Courier 2019/20, News Editor 2018/19, writer since 2016 and German & Business graduate. I've written for all of our sections, but particularly enjoy writing breaking news and data-based investigative pieces. Best known in the office for making tea and blasting out James Blunt. Twitter: @graceldean

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