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Update: the COVID-19 Canada Data Explorer was endorsed by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute – one of Canada’s leading public policy think tanks!
Update 2: My public policy brief Designing COVID-19 Data Tools, co-authored with Ken Coates and Carin Holroyd, was published by the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan. The brief uses COVID-19 Canada Data Explorer as an example, and makes a comparative overview of COVID-19 data analysis and visualization tools available from Canada’s federal and provincial governments.
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In the times of the pandemic, the data community can help in many ways, including by developing instruments to track and break down the data on the spread of the dreaded coronavirus disease. The COVID-19 Canada Data Explorer app was built with R, including Shiny and Leaflet, to process the official dataset available from the Government of Canada. They do have their own data visualization tool, but it is very basic. You can do so much more with the available data!
I hope that my app will help public health professionals, policymakers, and really anyone to stay informed about the course of SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in Canada.
Some Things to Keep in Mind (Technical Stuff Here)
The app runs on a free version of Shiny Server, which doesn’t allow to serve Shiny applications using SSL/TLS encryption. Hence HTTP connection instead of HTTPS – your browser may say that “connection is not secure”. I am aware that there may be a way to force connection through HTTPS using reverse proxy as described here. However, these instructions are well over 4 years old, and the required library libapache2-mod-proxy-html is no longer available; no replacement for Ubuntu 18.04 either. If you know how to do this on Apache (not Nginx), I’d very much appreciate your advice (please use this contact form to reach me).
The data is downloaded from Canada.ca at 6-hour intervals to minimize the load on the data repository – there is likely a high demand due to the pandemic. This means that there may be a delay of up to six hours from the time Canada.ca update their data to the moment it is updated on my server.