Web developers creating site to make COVID-19 data more accessible

Local web designer Joseph Pinder, along with his co-author Sowmya Thottambeti, have embarked on a project to liberalize and liberate The Bahamas’ COVID-19 data by inputting statistics into an application programming interface (API) that makes accessing historical and current COVID-19 information easy.

Pinder called the development of the API, which could be available by the end of the week, a “passion project” as he has received no funding to develop the site but has, along with Thottambeti, created the interface and input data in order to provide Bahamians and anyone who would use the site with a user-friendly way to recall The Bahamas’ COVID-19 data. A dashboard is also in development and will also be available shortly.

Pinder said, though, that anyone wishing to sponsor the further development of the API is welcomed, as the site can be more fine-tuned to provide calculations of certain data sets and even projections based on the data.

Pinder said the government currently provides COVID-19 updates in an inaccessible fashion on the web.

“It goes into a PDF … there is nothing else you can do with it,” said Pinder. “When it goes on the government site, it is not easy to navigate and find these resources. For any organization, company or individual who wants to make use of the information, they will have to do what I’m doing presently, they would have to manually enter the data.”

According to Pinder, the script for the API has been made open source so that others can participate in the project and input data. He said he and Thottambeti have received technical support from the Bahamian Developers Association.

The site will house statistical data on cases, rates per hundred thousand, vaccination rates and death rates. Pinder said the site will also feature graphs that can be manipulated based on the information the user is interested in retrieving.

He added that local institutions like hospitals will be able to use the the data and provide their own data to the site in order to centralize important COVID-19 statistics for The Bahamas.

“This concept can be applied to hospitals too, for example, any facility that is actually testing and has some kind of interaction with COVID-19 at that level, can provide the information and have it available for manipulation,” said Pinder.

He explained that the data is safe, as the API is a read-only document that cannot be manipulated and data entries are approved by himself before the information is made available.

Pinder said this is the kind of site that should have been developed by the government to allow the tracking of COVID-19 data to be much more readily available.

Pinder has more than five years of experience in front-end development, information architecture, search engine optimization, performance and security. Thottambeti is currently a software engineer at Nike’s European headquarters and is especially interested in social entrepreneurship.

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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