Global health is a worldwide concern that transcends borders and affects every person. The two main global health initiatives addressed on this site are epidemiology and water sanitation. Currently, approximately one billion people do not have access to clean water, and 3.5 million people die per year from diseases related to water (Water.org, 2011). According to the World Health Organization’s “Global Burden of Disease” estimates, 16.2% of the world’s population died of infectious and parasitic diseases in 2004 and has not fluctuated far from that statistic since (World Health Organization, 2008). With such a large percentage of the world’s population affected per year, further research and new methods to better analyze and understand these concerns are imperative. The technology available through Google Earth has become a critical medium in the field of Global Health. A virtual globe that can be downloaded online for free, Google Earth integrates aerial and satellite imagery to create a three-dimensional globe of our planet rich with information and data. Not only does Google Earth provide an accessible interface for advocates and scientists to communicate and analyze data, it also provides a medium for distributing this information to the public. Partnerships between Google Earth and various news publications provide geographically relevant news and features, as well as a new way to communicate with the public about global health information.
By: Ricki Hernandez, Melissa Dalis, Erika Lampert
WaterAid. (http://www.wateraid.org/uk/default.asp) (2010). WaterAid (Layer in Google Earth 6.0 software). Available from earth.google.com/
World Health Organization. (2008, October). The Global Burden of Disease: 2004 Update. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/2004_report_update/en/index.html