Predicting the spread of disease with Google Earth

In the film Minority Report, PreCrime police combine psychic premonitions with search and surveillance technology to prevent murders before they occur, resulting in a homicide-free society. Could a similar approach ultimately eradicate infectious diseases like malaria? A project at UC San Francisco to leverage Google Earth is aiming to do that. 
As part of the Malaria Elimination Initiative, researchers at the UCSF Global Health Group are creating an online prediction platform to assess where malaria is likely to be transmitted next. When malaria cases are identified, local healthcare workers can upload time and location data on infected patients. These data will be combined with real-time satellite tracking of weather and environmental conditions as well as 40 years of historic data within Google Earth Engine.
The result? Mapping of the exact regions where new cases of the disease are anticipated. Predictive mapping will enable agencies to be highly efficient and targeted with precautionary measures, including distributing bed nets, spraying insecticides, or providing antimalarial drugs to specific locations rather than widespread and costly overkill efforts. “With these maps, health workers will know exactly where to target their scarce resources,” stated Global Health Sciences assistant professor Hugh Sturrock in the release. “That way, they can keep fighting the disease until it’s eliminated within their borders.”