Mapping Swaziland to help eliminate malaria

03 June 2015 by Caitlyn

Tomnod has teamed up with the University of California, San Francisco’s Malaria Elimination Initiative to provide a valuable population map of Swaziland.

According to the World Health Organization, malaria is an entirely preventable and treatable mosquito-borne illness. In 2014, 97 countries and territories had ongoing malaria transmission. An estimated 3.3 billion people are at risk of malaria, of whom 1.2 billion are at high risk. In 2013 alone, there were an estimated 198 million cases of malaria worldwide and an estimated 584 000 deaths. 90% of all malaria deaths occur in Africa.

“The information Tomnod provides will help us plan and implement malaria elimination activities such as insecticide spraying, mosquito net distribution and case finding,” said Hugh Sturrock, PhD, Global Health Group, upon return from a trip to Swaziland.

National malaria programme surveillance officers testing people for malaria in a high risk village.
National malaria programme surveillance officers testing people for malaria in a high risk village.

The map will include the locations of buildings and the type of roof they possess such as metal, tile or thatch.

“Classifying roof types is useful for identifying the type of structure which guides the type of insecticide used. We also know that poor housing is associated with higher risk of malaria, probably due to the fact that mosquitoes can enter poorly constructed housing more easily than those with solid walls, windows and roofs. Identifying clusters of structures in high-risk areas that are built using basic materials can point the surveillance teams to potentially high-risk households,” Sturrock added.

The Tomnod services, valued at $275,000, are being donated and the imagery granted on behalf of the DigitalGlobe Foundation.

“Hugh Sturrock reached out to us about the initiative and the data they were looking for. We saw a great opportunity to use the power of the crowd and several other DigitalGlobe resources for a solution they can put to use eliminating malaria from that part of the world,” noted Caitlyn Milton, Crowd Coordinator at Tomnod.

The project utilizes DigitalGlobe’s Basemap +Vivid layer, which is now available across all of Africa, and a proprietary building detection algorithm built by DigitalGlobe’s Image Mining team.



Click here to start mapping Swaziland



National malaria programme surveillance officers testing people for malaria in a high risk village.
National malaria programme surveillance officers testing people for malaria in a high risk village.

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Caitlyn is the crowdsourcing manager at Tomnod. She engages the Tomnod community and unleashes their help to crowdsource the world.