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DotMapper: an open source tool for creating interactive disease point maps

Smith, CM; Hayward, AC; (2016) DotMapper: an open source tool for creating interactive disease point maps. BMC Infectious Diseases , 16 , Article 145. 10.1186/s12879-016-1475-5. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Molecular strain typing of tuberculosis isolates has led to increased understanding of the epidemiological characteristics of the disease and improvements in its control, diagnosis and treatment. However, molecular cluster investigations, which aim to detect previously unidentified cases, remain challenging. Interactive dot mapping is a simple approach which could aid investigations by highlighting cases likely to share epidemiological links. Current tools generally require technical expertise or lack interactivity. RESULTS: We designed a flexible application for producing disease dot maps using Shiny, a web application framework for the statistical software, R. The application displays locations of cases on an interactive map colour coded according to levels of categorical variables such as demographics and risk factors. Cases can be filtered by selecting combinations of these characteristics and by notification date. It can be used to rapidly identify geographic patterns amongst cases in molecular clusters of tuberculosis in space and time; generate hypotheses about disease transmission; identify outliers, and guide targeted control measures. CONCLUSIONS: DotMapper is a user-friendly application which enables rapid production of maps displaying locations of cases and their epidemiological characteristics without the need for specialist training in geographic information systems. Enhanced understanding of tuberculosis transmission using this application could facilitate improved detection of cases with epidemiological links and therefore lessen the public health impacts of the disease. It is a flexible system and also has broad international potential application to other investigations using geo-coded health information.

Type: Article
Title: DotMapper: an open source tool for creating interactive disease point maps
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12879-016-1475-5
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12879-016-1475-5
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: GIS, Tuberculosis, Web interface
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1498502
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