Stanford University’s Big Local News and Pitch Interactive projects, along with the Google News Initiative, are launching a new tool today that allows local journalists to embed customized, up-to-date maps of COVID-19 cases in the United States.
The COVID-19 Case Mapper might sound pretty basic — and indeed, Google Data Editor Simon Rogers admitted that he’d expected something like this to exist already.
However, while local journalists are doing their best to keep their readers informed about the latest COVID-19 developments, Rogers said they may not have the tools to normalize different sources of data and build maps of their own.
“The local news crisis, which was already happening, has totally been exacerbated by coronavirus,” he said.
Plus, he said most of the existing COVID-19 case maps don’t offer an easy way for journalists to embed them anywhere. And when it comes to making information widely available, the key is to create something “you can embed and use anywhere.”
Now journalists anywhere in the U.S. can just visit the Case Mapper, identify the area that they want to map, and then copy an embed code that will allow them include the map in their articles or on their website. The map uses data from The New York Times’ COVID-19 county data, and it’s colored based on the number of cases per 100,000 people — so you can see how serious the outbreak is relative to the total population.
This is part of a broader, $6.5 million commitment from Google to fight COVID-19 misinformation. While the initial map is U.S.-only, Rogers said there are plans to launch global version soon.