Maps and the Internet

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5101.1 - Outbreak of Epidemics in a Connected World: Exhibiting Maps of Contagious Diseases –The Spanish Flu to the Zika Virus

Wednesday, July 5
8:30 AM - 8:50 AM
Location: Delaware A

For 2018, The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) has proposed an exhibit titled "Outbreak", dealing with the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Flu up through the following viruses: Smallpox, HIV/AIDS, MERS, Hanta, Nipah, SARS, Ebola, and Zika. This exhibit plans to include static, animated, and interactive story maps of a number of diseases. We want to enable the public to not just learn about the diseases, but immerse themselves into the environments and factors that have caused such outbreaks. We were approached by the NMNH exhibits office to collate geo-spatial data sets and subsequently draft maps for display. So we collected spatial data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for disease vectors after initial outbreaks, and shrinkage after the introduction of vaccines. Additionally, the ProMED (Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases) HealthMap ( is being combined with Esri’s ArcGIS Online and Story Maps for display in both interactive kiosks and within the associated website. One dynamic map will show a selection of disease outbreaks and travel paths of epidemics in near real-time given frequent updates from the WHO and CDC. And a dynamic global map with video inserts zoom into some key "hotspots" that highlight the connections between environmental health, animal health, and human health and activities. This paper will illustrate the proposed maps planned for the exhibit to educate the public through cartographic visualization of these topics.

Daniel G. Cole

Geographic Information Systems Coordinator & Chief Cartographer
Smithsonian Institution

Daniel G. Cole is the GIS Coordinator and Chief Cartographer of the Smithsonian Institution (SI). He has worked in this position since 1990, and since 1986 has served as the research cartographer at SI. He co-edited, with the late Imre Sutton, Mapping Native America: Cartographic Interactions between Indigenous Peoples, Government and Academia, 3 vols., 2014. He has designed and created maps for multiple exhibits at the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of the American Indian. He also serves as GIS, cartographic and GPS consultant to other scientists, exhibit staff and illustrators within SI. From June 2009 to June 2010, he was president of the Canadian Cartographic Association; and he is now the vice-president of the Cartography and Geographic Information Society, and will become the president-elect in the spring of 2017.


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David F. Attaway

Solution Engineer

Dr. David Frost Attaway has over 14 years’ experience in GIS work and currently works for Esri. He received his BA in Geography from UTD in 2007, his MS in Geographic Information Science in 2009 from UTD, before pursuing his PhD from George Mason University in Earth Systems and Geoinformation Sciences in 2014. He has 9+ publications in accredited journals, devised ways to integrate new spatial statistics tools into ArcGIS, and has been a lead advisor for medical geography issues worldwide. David’s current medical geography analysis identifies limitations to dengue mapping, new methodologies to analyze risk, and ways in which to bring together multi discipline approaches to combating vector borne disease.


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Send Email for Pyry Kettunen


5101.1 - Outbreak of Epidemics in a Connected World: Exhibiting Maps of Contagious Diseases –The Spanish Flu to the Zika Virus

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