Lockdown bound: tracking our journey through Europe and the COVID-19 outbreak

We are safely in lockdown on a site in the UK now and doing ok. Maybe the last year spent on the road – with our “the plan is, there is no plan” approach – was a helpful experience. We are already used to not seeing our friends and family so much, going out and spending less, and cutting out lots of things we don’t really need (because they weigh too much!) 

Friends abroad are seeing signs of lockdown easing – they can go to the pub in Vietnam 🙂 Here in the UK, there’s lots of discussion about tracking apps and data and privacy. This got me wondering. Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course. With the open data now available, I wondered if I could track our homeward journey through the unfolding pandemic. How close did we come? Where might we have been exposed?

Good practice from a data visualisation perspective. And, an interesting challenge in terms of exploring tracking, risk, exposure, contact and transmission, etc. I used R Studio – free open source software – to create an interactive map to display and animate our movements through the georeferenced case data. 

The amount of open data around the pandemic is impressive. It has been an important asset in understanding what works in terms of controlling the spread of COVID-19.

I used time series and individual case records from the John Hopkins University and data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Thanks to the authors of the following R packages, for making creating the mapping app so straightforward: shiny, leaflet, geosphere, tidyverse, leaflet.minicharts, vov