asthMap: a visualization tool for mapping asthma exacerbations

This summer, three of my UW Cartography compatriots and I were hired by Professor David Van Sickle to create an epidemiological visualization showing asthma exacerbations. This all depended on an inhaler he was/is developing. The inhaler (details to follow) includes some capacity to receive GPS coordinates and transmit these to a database.

This real-time data collection requires a visualization system to help epidemiologists and other health professionals understand the data collected. We built such a system. This was my and our first project in Flash CS3 and Actionscript 3.0. It’s still very much in progress, but (when active) you can view the map at our secret development address.

We were very much inspired by two interactive Flash maps. The first is the UW Alcohol Map by Jian Liu and Feng Qi. This brilliantly simple map uses various temporal controls (allowing the user to change the temporal aggregation and composition of the displayed data) to show alcohol-related incidents on the U of Wisconsin campus in 1998/99. The second is the Trulia Hindsight Map produced by the brilliant people at Stamen Design. We were particularly (and obviously) inspired by their histogram, which is incorporated into the play/pause/step and filtering controls of the map. Our visualization tool builds on the Stamen approach by adding sophisticated temporal and data-driven filtering. I must also give big ups to Modest Maps, an interaction and display library written in Actionscript 2 (but luckily available in an AS3 version as well).

My three UW Cartography compatriots, by the way, were Eve McGlynn (initial design), Robert Roth (initial interface design and programming), and Andy Woodruff (programming, along with myself).


  1. This was great visual presentation. I want to add more about asthma. The treatment protocol primarily focuses on relaxing bronchospasm with the use of bronchodilators, or reducing inflammation with the help of corticosteroids. These medications are divided into two types: quick-relief medications used to treat acute asthma attacks and long-term control medications used to prevent exacerbation of the disease. This is where mangosteen comes into the picture and it’s quite likely that most asthmatics have already heard or have been taking this wonder fruit as a dietary supplement. However, the hype about the benefits offered by mangosteen to asthmatics is not mere hearsay. Mangosteen has grown in popularity among asthma sufferers because it delivers positive results without any accompanying adverse reactions.

    Justin Asthma
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Permalink
  2. Asthma is a very sensitive issues so far as health is concern. my mother died of this long time ago because of negligence. but now i got the solution.

    Posted August 19, 2010 at 8:17 am | Permalink
  3. This is very interesting. I have dealt with asthma for 25+ years now (in Texas and around NYC) and would volunteer for any type of asthma research related to location awareness.

    Posted January 6, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink
  4. Marine corps and also creepy- crawlies through outer space, which manage to have conquered intergalactic travel but still make use of recoil managed gun.

    szkolenia techniczne
    Posted December 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

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  1. By » roll your own on June 2, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    [...] opted to use pre-existing tiles from Microsoft or Google. And on a couple of recent projects (asthMap and the Hydrologic Dashboard) we’ve opted for the prepackaged Microsoft tiles (in my view, [...]

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