Utah company helping to map spread of Ebola in Liberia

Posted at 8:10 PM, Aug 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-23 22:10:21-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah-based company that originally set out to create addresses for residents in Libera is now being asked to help map the Ebola outbreak in that country.

Addressing Homes LLC is based in Midvale, and they are working to map the spread of the disease as well as the locations of health clinics.

"By taking all that data, and putting it on a map, on an actual, physical map, we can start mapping patterns of how the disease is spreading and where it's spreading," said Michael Olsen, the chairman of Addressing Homes LLC.

Olsen said they are compiling this information for the first time.

"We've been asked by the government to come over and map the health clinics," he said. "There are no maps of any of the health clinics."

The civil war in Liberia has left much of the country without clean water, electricity and sanitation services, and Olsen said that makes people more susceptible to disease.

"If you look at the spread of Ebola, it's like in this prime area because there is nowhere to wash your hands," he said.

The company sent several hand-held devices to Liberia that allow the user to take photos of homes and health clinics while noting the latitude and longitude of the structure. The data is sent to Utah to be turned into a map and then sent back to Liberia.

Olsen said they are being asked to map where outbreaks are happening by recording where people are getting sick or dying but not reporting it.

"What we have been asked to do is map where those locations are at, so that we can then establish where the outbreaks are taking place and see if we can come up with some type of a pattern of how the Ebola is spreading throughout the country," he said.

The company hopes to work with the World Health Organization to collect data in neighboring countries so the spread of the disease can be monitored in those places. Click here to visit the company's website.