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Dashboards and the visualisation of the pandemic present

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With COVID-19, the “age of dashboards” (Few 2013) has firmly arrived in epidemiology. Websites like the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Map have become iconic over the course of the pandemic and countless dashboards – from the World Health Organization to the Scottish blogger Travelling Tabby – have offered insights into epidemiological data, trends, and patterns.  

While dashboards might have had a place in epidemiological surveillance before COVID-19, they have now become a common public resource, a valuable instrument of policy-making as well as a widely trusted indicator of pandemic crisis. Accompanied by promises of real-time surveillance and nowcasting, the dashboard signifies a strong shift in the production of epidemiological knowledge.  

This recent transformation, Dr Lukas Engelmann argues, advances a strong expectation for public data dissemination to impact the mitigation of transmission but falls short to acknowledge that “trust in numbers” (Porter 1988) is not merely built on transparency and intuitive designs. 


Dr Lukas Engelmann, University of Edinburgh 


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