Out-of-box apps inspiring outside-the-box thinking: Web AppBuilder delivers a platform capable of enabling real-world change in the global public health sphere

Document created by kawright@usc.edu on Jan 7, 2017
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Motivation: Despite the pervasive blending of epidemiology and geography in HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria research, GIS is less often applied to other conditions and illnesses that affect the extreme poor in developing tropical regions. Recognizing that under-represented diseases and conditions might benefit from the special Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) status, in May 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) released a roadmap for disease reclassification, requiring the inclusion of a "dossier" of information about a disease and its treatment as part of the petition. The Tungiasis eLibrary represents an innovative use of GIS within the public health sphere, combining academic research, volunteered geographic information, collaboration across disciplines, and advocacy to produce an eLibrary that can fulfill the WHO requirements for reclassification.


The Tungiasis eLibrary is a web mapping application developed using out-of-box solutions provided by Esri’s Web AppBuilder. The main component of the app is a georeferenced collection of published, peer-reviewed journal articles that pertain to tungiasis or Tunga penetrans. What sets this application apart from other online libraries, however, is how the collection is populated. Researchers and authors themselves can submit their own or other authors' published work to this eLibrary. All users are also invited to share unpublished work, conference proceedings, government and non-governmental organization (NGO) whitepapers, and even spatial data itself to further research of tungiasis eradication. Each document added to the eLibrary is georeferenced and categorized and appears as a point on the map, symbolized according to its focus. Other out-of-box widgets (Edit, Query, Chart, Select and Export, Bookmark, and Time) provide context to the gathered data and encourage further engagement with the application.

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