The history of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine tells part of the story of disease mapping. The School was founded in 1899 by Sir Patrick Manson to teach doctors how to treat the tropical diseases, which were affecting British citizens in the colonies. Two of the biggest killers were malaria and African sleeping sickness and the historical maps held at the School strongly reflect this. These maps were used by the School in the planning of expeditions overseas, in the spatial investigation of tropical diseases, in the recording of research results and in prevention programmes. The School became the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in 1924.
A selection of historical disease maps from the School's collections and examples of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in public health are on display demonstrating the changes in disease mapping from the early 1900s to the present day. Computer programs such as Google Maps and GPS coupled with the advent of mobile devices have enabled us to collect, share and process information on a scale never seen before.
Critiquing these new technologies Anne Eggebert's Global Ghost Map uses Google Earth and Pro-Med mail to engage with the distant locations of present-day cholera outbreaks, whereas Catherine Anyango's immersive Tunnel drawing of London's subterranean water-ways are an elusive survey that force us into confrontation with the city's hidden infrastructures.