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April 30, 2020

New Tools from Verizon Help Developers Tackle COVID-19 Data

A snapshot of Verizon's COVID-19 dashboard.

Verizon has joined the battle against COVID-19. This week, Verizon announced three new tools to help developers and data analysts leverage the deluge of data the pandemic is producing. The tools – a dataset, an API, and a dashboard – utilize Verizon Media’s Yahoo Knowledge Graph, which Verizon touts as “one of the largest organized collections of information.”

The Yahoo Knowledge COVID-19 data repository includes a wide range of variables (such as cases, deaths, and recoveries) broken down at a county-by-county level and meticulously sourced. “We created this dataset by carefully combining and normalizing raw data provided entirely by government and public health authorities,” wrote Amit Nagpal, senior director of software development engineering at Verizon Media. “We provide website level provenance for every single statistic in our dataset, so our community has the confidence it needs to use it scientifically and report with transparency.”

The second tool is an API built by the Verizon Media Big Data Platforms team. Built on a Verizon Media platform called Elide, the API allows developers to more easily navigate and transform the dataset to produce apps and visualizations. “For example,” the release says, “medical researchers could build a timeline graphic to illustrate confirmed cases or the flattening of the curve in a specific county, or to measure the effect of social distancing over time.”

Finally, Verizon used the dataset to build a dashboard of its own: an interactive map to help people learn about the spread of the virus. Built using Verizon’s own map tile server, the dashboard allows users to visually hone in on their countries, states, or counties and view the breakdown of cases, along with sources for all of the data and rates of change. To view the dashboard yourself, click here.

A snapshot of Verizon’s COVID-19 dashboard.

“The COVID-19 pandemic challenges us all to ask how we can help fight this virus and unite as a community,” said Guru Gowrappan, CEO of Verizon Media. “As a media organization focused on delivering trusted content to the world, we are compelled to find ways to inform the public and to empower knowledge. Given the high volume of information, data, and figures released daily, one way we can help is to play a role in organizing the content that exists, while also sharing our technology that allows us to create informative and interactive visualizations of the data available about this virus.”

“We offer these tools, data, and an invitation to work together on getting past the raw numbers,” said Nagpal.