Creating context: Making sense of geo-location and social media data for health

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


IOS Press


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Computer and Security Science/eHealth Research Group




This article was originally published as: Williams, P. A. (2013). Creating context: Making sense of geo-location and social media data for health. In Health Informatics : Digital Health Service Delivery - the future is now! : Selected papers from the 21st Australian National Health Informatics Conference (HIC 2013)(pp. 149-154). Amsterdam, Netherlands IOS Press . Original article available here


Information that is persistently collected, unrelated to direct clinical care may be a Pandora's Box for health improvement and monitoring. The use and linkage of disparate data sources, particularly those relating to geo-location and social media present enormous opportunities and challenges for healthcare. To date these sources have been difficult to harness and make sense of, yet they are now beginning to be exploited. It is the innovation in analytic methodology that may hold the key if the issues that may confound the results can be addressed. These issues are encompassed in privacy, and with the scientific quality and completeness of the data. The future for alternative application of geo-location and social media data is here and now, and if they can be harnessed carefully, healthcare may be the biggest beneficiary.