Visual data: early warning of ‘flu trends

The frequency with which certain terms appear in Google search queries foreshadows¬†reports of actual ‘flu activity from agencies like the Centres for Disease Control by about two weeks. Google tracks the frequency of ‘flu-linked search terms and maps the results by region. The current map for Canada shows low frequency in the west and east, moderate in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and high in Ontario and Quebec.

Google flu-adj-550

This is a screenshot. The actual map is interactive, so you can click on a province and see the search trends there over time. Check out the explanatory video.

H/T: Steve Manley, ‘flu sufferer.