My colleague Marco Dalle Feste and I are still quite shocked by how the Coronavirus situation has developed in Italy in the last weeks. Everything was shut down, and our families and friends were suddenly projected in this new and surreal situation of isolation. In a situation like this, where everyone feels powerless, we decided to do something, a small gesture, at least to try to give some contribution to the world in this difficult times.
We created coronamap.it, a simple webapp to show data of the spreading of the COVID-19 contagion. The app is fairly simple, as it gets some data and displays it in an interactive map providing cases information, with various levels of precision: as you might expect, the italian situation is quite accurate, showing daily updated data from our Ministry of Health, discerned to the province (county) level. For the rest of the world, we stand upon giant’s shoulders: we are relying on data from the Johns Hopkins University, and we plan to increase the level of granularity of the data soon by implementing other sources for the worst impacted zones.
By a technical point of view, our approach wants to be innovative in a sense that it wants to be ready to embed various sources, and thus crawlers, of data from a growing number of reliable national authorities. We are trying to create a centralized database of the contagion information which could concentrate a decent amount of high-accuracy uniform information.
As a last note, I want to say that we are very concerned about the situation, and personally I’d like to point out that I feel that other nations are seemingly underestimating the impact that this thing will have in every part of the world. Yes, Italy was first hit and we may have responded with some delay, but the situation was like no precedent, while information from China was scarce. Now other nations in Europe are living what we experienced some days ago and they have no excuse to wait to deploy and enforce strong measures because Italy’s situation was publicly shared without censorship of any kind, the data is there to be looked at.