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Apart from tackling the spread of fake news, CoronaTracker, which can be accessed via https://www.coronatracker.com, seeks to make only credible and verified information available to global citizens.

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian data scientist has taken a proactive step in creating a one-stop platform, CoronaTracker, that offers real-time data and news updates on the fast-spreading Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Apart from tackling the spread of fake news, CoronaTracker, which can be accessed via https://www.coronatracker.com, seeks to make only credible and verified information available to global citizens.

CoronaTracker founder and chief data scientist, Dr Cher Han Lau said the platform is a web application for the public to keep track of the latest news development about the 2019-nCov.

It also aims to collect data from multiple sources for data scientists and analysts to analyze the data, he said.

The site, which began working on Jan 25 was officially launched on Jan 27.

“After we saw the John Hopkins University (JHU) dashboard, we realize that it is very hard to gather data for in-depth analysis, for example, time series to monitor the growth and spread of the virus.

“Further, localized news such as news related to Kuala Lumpur or Malaysia at large and the detailed data we require is available everywhere (on various channels).

“So, we built a platform and use technology to help us to consolidate those information,” he told the New Straits Times today.

Cher, who is chief executive officer for a training company, LEAD said that the CoronaTracker currently has a total of 462 members at the time when this story was written.

These members are volunteers from all around the world, including Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, the United States, Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan.

“Data scientists’ primary role is to follow the OSEMN (Obtain, Scrub, Explore, Model, Interpret) framework to collect, clean, explore data, and run their own analysis and present it using visualizations and dashboards.

“We are also using Natural language processing to analyze the content and identify meaningful topics. We will build machine learning models later.

“We have Full Stack developers helping us to build the web and mobile applications. UI UX designers make sure our information architecture and flow is correct

“Medical doctors and experts help us validate and verify the information. And the general public act as testers.”

The public can visit https://www.coronatracker.com, or join the “CoronaTracker” Telegram group if they want to contribute.

“This is a 100 per cent open source project, all information and publishable data are available on Github as well.

“We want to use technology and make information more accessible, that is the primary goal, and gather talented people all around the world to win the fight,” he added.

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