A User-friendly Online Map for Long-term Care

Scenario
In past few decades, population ageing has become one of the most critical issues among most developed countries. Just like an infectious disease, the low birth rate is a widely spread phenomenon in European and East Asian countries. Even in some developing countries, such as China, Brazil, and Russia, the birth rate is continuously at a rather low level, which is below the replacement rate of 2.0 and means the natural population growth is not enough to sustain the population after several years later.

The low birth rate will lead to inevitable population ageing and a fast growing number of the elder people, which also means the decline of the labor force and the increasing demand for long-term care.

Long-term care is a term contains various services that aim to help the people who are struggling to do daily tasks for long periods, such as dressing, feeding, and showering. It may include medical assists, personal care, and services like meals and housekeeping. According to the need, long-term care can be provided at different places, such as home, in the community, or in an assisted living facility. Despite people of any age could need the long-term care, it is a more demand for the elderlies. Now, the growing request for long-term care is an emerging issue in many countries, such as Germany, Japan, the UK, the US, and many others.

Challenges
As mentioned before, population ageing will result in an increasing demand for long-term care. Taiwan, as one of the countries that have the lowest birth rate, requires eagerly for long-term care now. But despite the demand for such services is rapidly rising, there was still short of a clear guide for the elder people and their family to bridge the resources they need. As a result, people have such requests often waste a lot of time and resources for finding an appropriate service or facility.
Goals
For empowering citizens to find the information of long-term care more easily, a project that aimed to integrate all related resources had been launched by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the unit that is in charge of the long-term care in Taiwan. Therefore, a user-friendly online platform must be established to achieve the goal of this project, which should allow users to search, download, and understand all the long-term care resources in Taiwan.
Solutions
It is widely recognized fact that a good map worth a thousand words. Therefore, a platform like this must include an online map to visualize the location of long-term care resources because the map is a great tool to integrate and deliver massive information. In this case study, we will mainly focus on the related steps of establishing an online map that can be easily operated by the citizens.

Since the data provided by the Ministry of Health and Welfare is all in text format, first we need to geocode these data to make them have geospatial attributes. By using the service developed by Supergeo, the geocoding service of TGOS (Taiwan Geospatial One-Stop) Portal, all long-term care facilities have successfully obtained the coordination and been plotted on an online map.

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▲ Fig.1 The UI of long-term care online platform of Taiwan
For achieving the goal set previously, we further utilized the TGOS API to make this online map more interactive and user-friendly. One of the API we used is the marker function, which is coordinated to the map scale and can group clustered points into a single symbol. When we browse the map in a smaller scale, the facility that is close to the surrounding facilities will be shown as only one aggregated spot. Therefore, the points on the map have become fewer, giving the map a more organized and understandable layout. At the same time, we also applied another API to create the popup window, so users can quickly learn the detailed information of any specific facility by a single click.
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▲ Fig.2 The marker can group points in a smaller scale
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▲ Fig.3 The Popup window can show detailed information
Results
By using the web GIS technology of Supergeo, we successfully developed an online map that can integrate and visualize long-term care resources effectively. The elder people now can easily access and absorb the information they need, including the name, address, phone number, email address, and the service type of all long-term care facilities. Supergeo team also built a database for online query and download, so citizens can hence understand and reuse the related information more comprehensively.
Benefits
The web GIS technology provided by Supergeo has abundant features and can help users to attain various goals. In this case, we applied the API to display the long-term care service and facility more interactively. But there are still more API features that can assist users to achieve more, such as GIS data importing, positioning, converting, and measurement. Furthermore, Supergeo is still developing more advanced features, especially many novel ways to view and visualize geospatial data in the 3D environment.
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