Medical

Google and Off Launch Mosquito Forecast Tool

The site lets you enter your ZIP code to get a seven-day prediction of the mosquito population in your area.

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Google and SC Johnson, the maker of repellant brand Off, have partnered to create a forecasting tool to help consumers cope with one of summer's most notorious pests: mosquitos.

Dubbed the Off!Cast, the tool takes advantage of Google Cloud's geospatial and data analytics technologies, and SC Johnson's experience in controlling mosquitos, which carry a host of diseases. The tool displays the projected size of a mosquito population in a given area based on ZIP code.

The search giant said Off!Cast marks the first technology platform to make mosquito forecasts available to the public. The service will initially be restricted to the US but will roll out to Brazil and Mexico in the near future. Maude Meier, an entomologist at SC Johnson said in a press release the combination of science and technology would help prevent insect borne disease. 

Google's Earth Engine will feed billions of points of weather data into an algorithm co-developed with the SC Johnson Institute for Insect Science and Family Health and Climate Engine to estimate mosquito population data. That data is then given to a model to create a color-coded seven-day forecast. (The Off!Cast site is owned and operated by SC Johnson, which uses it to advertise Off-branded mosquito repellant products.)

Mosquitos infect 700 million people a year with diseases such as zika, malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever, resulting in more than a million deaths. Scientists say a warming planet could help mosquito populations explode. Both Google and SC Johnson say preventative data models are the best way to shape human behavior to avoid infection spread.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.