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Ebola: Can big data analytics help contain its spread?

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The Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has now claimed more than 4,000 lives. While emergency response teams, medical charities and non-governmental organisations struggle to contain the virus, could big data analytics help? A growing number of data scientists believe so.

Mobile mapping

Mobile phones, widely owned in even the poorest countries in Africa, are proving to be a rich source of data in a region where other reliable sources are sorely lacking. Orange Telecom in Senegal handed over anonymous voice and text data from 150,000 mobile phones to Flowminder, a Swedish non-profit organisation, which was then able to draw up detailed maps of typical population movements in the region. Authorities could then see where the best places were to set up treatment centres, and more controversially, the most effective ways to restrict travel in an attempt to contain the disease.

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Simplifying search results to streamline health service staff response times

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GPs are contractually required to provide primary care services to patients living within their catchment boundaries. HealthGIS GP Finder, developed by the award-winning HealthGIS Team, now part of South West Commissioning Support (SWCS), provides access to up-to-date, accurate registration information for both primary care support services and GP contract administrators.

The Challenge

Quickly and accurately identifying patients within a specific GP catchment area, helps to streamline query response times, but requires search results that are easy to interpret. Additional information, such as the location of hospitals and pharmacies, also helps health service staff to provide added value to the public and GP practices.

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Maximising the value of spatial data

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The big data phenomenon has arisen from the advances in technology which have enabled huge amounts of data to be collected. With its rise has come the complicated question of how to manage the data and, more importantly, how to maximise its value and create something useful with it.

Governments have been at the forefront of the spatial big data trend. Countries collect large amounts of geographic data, which is stored in databases and represents an essential part of government business. It is used to provide a consistent framework for mapping locations and to make important decisions like where a pipeline or the next motorway should go.

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Data for the perfect illusion

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Digital visual effects for cinema and TV. What do "The Book Thief", "Cloud Atlas" and "Hotel Adlon. A Family Saga" have in common? All of them are film or TV productions that were set scene by the specialists at RISE | Visual Effects Studios. A FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D was also involved in producing the often breathtaking digital effects.

Burning streets, exploding aeroplanes and cars that plunge off bridges – where traditional special effects reach their limits, digital visual effects are now an essential part of the film and gaming industry. The digital artists of RISE | Visual Effects Studios play a leading role in this field. The Berlin company has specialised in visual effects, or VFX, and offers professional scanning services under its brand Pointcloud9.


The precise measurement of space for the perfect illusion

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The Urbanscreen artist group from Bremen have plunged the Gasometer in Oberhausen into a perfect light illusion as part of the giant multimedia installation "320° Licht". The precise measurement of space is the basis for this digital art. Leica Geosystems has been providing Urbanscreen with the most up-to-date scanners since 2012 and such products like the ScanStation P20 make this modern artistic mode of expression possible.  320° Licht is open to the public as part of the "Appearance of Beauty" exhibition and runs until the end of 2014.

The Gasometer, which closed twenty years ago in the Ruhr metropolis Oberhausen, was a landmark of the coal, iron and steel industry and is still an emblem of the region. Since 1994, the former gas holder has been an exhibition hall and has made a name for itself in the world of art. It has always been a constant challenge to fill the empty space above the actual exhibition area, with the dome’s dimensions rising to a height of more than 100 metres and its diameter to 60 metres. However, this empty space provides the perfect projection area for the media art of Urbanscreen.

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