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Site taps social networks to map real-time sickness trends

Sport & Fitness

It’s not uncommon for users of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to mention in their status updates the passing colds and flus that afflict them on any given day. Aiming to make such information useful to the population at large, Sickweather is a site that aggregates illness-related data across social networks and then produces real-time “weather maps” of reported symptoms. Now in closed beta, Baltimore-based Sickweather “scans social networks for indicators of illness, allowing you to check for the chance of sickness as easily as you check for the chance of rain,” in the company’s own words. The site uses an algorithm to filter and qualify data of that kind drawn from numerous public sources — including its own online community — and it then cross-references the information with location tags. The result are real-time maps much like those used to represent the weather, but focusing instead on health symptoms. From there, Sickweather can forecast the progression of colds and flus or even chronic illnesses including depression, it says. Registered users, in turn, can tap a series of interactive tools to monitor their own health as well as that of their friends and family. With more and more information being shared on social networks every day, it seems a good bet that there are still plenty more ways that growing wealth of data could be tapped for practical purposes. One for inspiration! Spotted by: Katharina Kieck

Email: info@sickweather.com

Website: www.sickweather.com

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