Logz.io this week launched a Community COVID-19 Dashboard Project that seeks to provide software developers and data scientists a reliable source of data to assess the global impact of the pandemic.
Dotan Horovits, product evangelist for Logz.io, said the goal is to help organizations make sense of often conflicting data by making it accessible using a publicly available dashboard based on open source Kibana software. The data itself is stored in an ElasticSearch repository, he said.
Logz.io also plans to make the data accessible via a dashboard based on open source Grafana software to make it easier to navigate time-series data, he added.
Horovits acknowledges that the data concerning the COVID-19 pandemic is fluid at best. However, over time it will become easier to identify suspect data by applying analytics. Much of the COVID-19 data being made available is well-formatted, he said; the challenge is simply finding a way to aggregate that data in a way that is accessible to a broad range of potential end users.
In the short term, Loz.io envisions organizations such as first responders using the dashboard to help optimize the deployment of limited resources. Longer-term, that data can also be employed to assess the impact the pandemic has had on everything from the environment and the economy to the mental health of individuals living in different regions. At the very least, access could go a long way to reducing the amount of COVID-19 misinformation being spread, Horovits added.
Logz.io started with the COVID-19 data available from Johns Hopkins University. On top of that core set, the company is moving to aggregate data made available from additional public sources including media, governments and the World Health Organization (WHO). The company is also inviting any organization that has aggregated COVID-19 data to contribute to the project.
Many organizations will, of course, use the data provided by Logz.io and similar initiatives to build a wide range of analytics applications. For example, it may be possible to avert future pandemics by identifying areas where individuals are experiencing high fevers sooner. Given the importance of those applications, it’s probable most of them will need to be built using best DevOps practices to ensure timely delivery.
It’s not clear how the pandemic may advance data science. Organizations have been leveraging big data analytics applications for years. However, the pandemic may lead to more ambitious efforts to aggregate and analyze medical data on a global basis. Arguably, it’s been the absence of reliable data that has enabled the virus to spread so widely. Otherwise, initiatives such as social distancing might have been enforced earlier and medical facilities would have been outfitted with more equipment.
In the meantime, there may not be much most IT professionals can do to combat the current pandemic other than working from home much like everyone else. However, in terms of preventing the next one, the level of data science expertise being applied to virus research may soon become a matter of life and death for millions of people.