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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Postgraduate researcher maps John Snow data

Published: 15 March 2013

Today marks the bicentenary of the birth of John Snow, who was one of the pioneers of epidemiology, and did the first real 'GIS-style' analysis.

Postgraduate research student student Robin Wilson has recently released some of John Snow's original data in modern GIS formats, and georeferenced it to the Ordnance Survey National Grid, so that the data can be displayed on modern maps.

Robin comments, "John Snow's work was invaluable; he plotted the locations of deaths from a cholera outbreak in London on a map, and found that they clustered around a water pump. By removing the handle from the pump the outbreak stopped, saving many lives, and lending support to the hypothesis that cholera was transmitted by dirty water."

The data is available at and has already been picked up by a number of websites (including the Guardian DataBlog). Other universities and researchers are starting to use the data for both teaching and research purposes.

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