Global Health through Google News
May 11, 2012 11:38 AM   Subscribe

Biocaster is an ontology-based global health monitoring system that monitors and maps disease outbreaks through internet-based news aggregation and social media.

"The BioCaster system has two major components: a web/database server and a backend cluster computer equipped with a variety of text mining algorithms which continuously scan hundreds of RSS newsfeeds from local and national news providers. Since the text mining system has a detailed knowledge about the important concepts such as diseases, pathogens, symptoms, people, places, drugs etc. this allows us to semantically index relevant parts of news articles, enabling users to have quicker and highly precise access to information."

Biocaster is one of a number of global health monitoring systems utilizing the internet and social media to provide early alerts of health threats.
posted by ChuraChura (11 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
This sounds interesting, but it's not at all clear to me what they mean by "ontology-based" in this context.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:46 AM on May 11, 2012


Ah, this kind of ontology.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:48 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have to wonder how easy this might be to prank. Flood their feeds with reports of an outbreak of Romulan Pox in Kentucky...
posted by Thorzdad at 12:09 PM on May 11, 2012


4chan needs to know about this.
posted by formless at 12:16 PM on May 11, 2012


I'd like to see prescriptions and OTC medicine sales mapped in real time like weather maps. "This is the communicable disease forecast for Buffalo. Flu is moving in from Chicago and should reach Buffalo by Tuesday. Meanwhile, people downtown have about a 40 percent chance of catching a cold this week. The odds are lower in outlying areas. Wash your hands frequently." (Of course, predicting flu in an area might skew flu-relief drug sales there and thus make it look like the flu was there already, but you could probably tune the forecast to account for that.)
posted by pracowity at 1:12 PM on May 11, 2012


Sort of disconcerting to be mousing over the bubbles on the East Coast and to spot one labeled Ebola.
posted by rewil at 1:35 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The only thing I took away from this is that Madagascar has indeed closed their ports.
posted by PapaLobo at 1:48 PM on May 11, 2012


There is also sickweather.
posted by unliteral at 5:20 PM on May 11, 2012


"I have to wonder how easy this might be to prank. Flood their feeds with reports of an outbreak of Romulan Pox in Kentucky..."
posted by Thorzdad at 3:09 PM on May 11 [+] [!]

"4chan needs to know about this."
posted by formless at 3:16 PM on May 11 [+] [!]


Jesus Christ, we can't trust the internet with ANYTHING
posted by Blasdelb at 7:13 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


rewil: "Sort of disconcerting to be mousing over the bubbles on the East Coast and to spot one labeled Ebola"

Yeah, so, this system isn't as great at parsing text as they say, apparently. That Ebola outbreak alert is caused by an expert on Ebola giving a presentation on his work, at a high school in Hamilton, Montana.

So, I'd probably take a lot of this with a big pinch of salt.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:55 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This link has not only biological hazards in real-time reporting but natural disasters as well. It's located in Hungary so the English is at times choppy, but absolutely FASCINATING to watch. This is a good adddendum to your link published.
posted by ~Sushma~ at 10:36 PM on May 12, 2012


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