The COVID-19 Community Support Map

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While the pandemic has derailed a lot of plans we have had the opportunity to work on a project with Public Health Wales, developing a novel data visualisation platform that helps identify vulnerable communities in Wales.

The idea of the map is to bring together multiple data sources from different places, and present them to a user in a way that makes them easy to interact with and explore. We wanted this important data to be accessible to everyone, and easy to interact with so that different questions could be explored.

It also takes the interesting approach of juxtaposing support and need, using variables that indicate people may be well supported as well as those that suggest they might be vulnerable.


Read all about it

See the code

Visit the map!

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Personal Reflections

Our work on the map has been intensive, but I’ve loved the opportunity to work on an applied project that actually has some relevance to our current situation. It was a unique group working opportunity as a PhD student - we tried out a work style that was ‘agile’ based, including daily stand ups, as working on a busy shared repository which involved learning a lot about collaborative git workflows!

My Python skills have developed pretty significantly thanks to this project too, in no small part due to some fantastic mentoring from those in my team (looking at @leriomaggio)

What have I learned during the process? A lot. Some examples of new things I’ve tried/learned about include:

  • Web development
  • Web servers & deployment
  • Git workflows (specifically GitFlow)
  • Collaborative programming, and pair programming
  • Further intermediate Python (e.g. data classes)
  • Creating a product to ‘client’ specifications
  • Working with government data
  • Visualisations with MapBox
  • Autodocumentation with Sphynx
  • probably more things I can’t even think about right now.

It’s been full on, but an amazing experience.

I’m pleased to say that we’re now releasing the project for other people to look at, and we’ll enter a stage of collecting feedback and thinking about how we might refine the project.