Nature Magazine's Avian Flu Mash-Up for Google Earth

I've just been playing with the Google Earth mashup of 1800 avian flu outbreaks from the last two years, constructed by Declan Butler for Nature.  Jamais Cascio has a good write up of the thing over at WorldChanging.

Butler describes the challenges of producing the mashup on his blog (link at WorldChanging).  I think the most interesting part might be his difficulty in acquiring data sets that played well together.  Each agency may use a different format, and require specific individual permission to access the detailed data, making production of a unified data set rather a pain.  Let alone trying to make sure the data is actually comparable between sets, is represented using the same system of units, etc.  Obviously an area of improvement for collaboration and cooperation to improve our understanding of influenza, and for getting sufficient information to make policy decisions within goverments and corporations.  But a challenge for the moment.

Bravo to Dr. Butler for making as much progress as he did.