Twitter to be used to Create the Weather Channel of Global Illness

Imagine turning on the TV and watching the illness forecast – one channel up from the Weather Channel, it keeps you informed 24/7 about the flu that’s spreading downtown and the cold that has hit a pocket of people in the North. This is something we might see as early as next year if the makers of the Twitter-fueled illness tracking map Kazemill have anything to do with it.

Kazemill is a visual graphic mapping system that tracks illnesses based on tweets. It scours Twitter once an hour for people tweeting cold, flu and other symptoms, and plots them on a map in real time.

Developed by ad agency McCann Healthcare Worldwide for the Tokyo-based pharmaceutical company SSP, Kazemill is slated to become a “TV like” experience – likely not an actual channel on your TV, but offering the same type of forecasting and information as your local weather channel when you log on to its website.

To really wrap your head around what this looks like, you’ve got to check out the demo on the official Japanese Kazemill website. Unless you can read Japanese, you won’t understand what anything really means, but it’s worth heading to the site to see some pretty quirky animations of different illnesses spreading throughout a region – angry orange spikes for one illness, drippy globs for another and frantic shaking dots for another.

McCann says that the technology is smart enough to distinguish between people using Twitter to complain of mild aches and pains and those actually presenting symptoms of an illness.

The first version of Kazemill has been developed for Japan. It gathers about 18,000 daily mentions of specific symptoms on Twitter and uses location data to plot these on a map of the country, updating it in real time.

Kazemill is expected to be offered in more locations throughout the next year.

Via The Guardian