The Ghost Map Essay

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The 1854 cholera outbreak was potentially one of the worst epidemics London has seen in its recent history, having eliminated around seven hundred people in just two weeks. In book The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson tells a thought-provoking tale about two different men who approached the spread of a microscopic bacterium in a growing urban city, and how their actions had changed the world. This particular cholera outbreak that swept through Broad Street in Soho district of London in 1854 led to the invention of modern life because it ultimately resulted in the transition from superstition to medical and scientific reasoning, the advances in modern epidemiology and the refurbishment of city infrastructures. John Snow’s role in the combat against the cholera outbreak brought medical and scientific reasoning into light. In the past, people widely believed in superstitions such as the…show more content…
Snow’s first map was a simple drawing of the neighborhood that included deaths marked by a black bar. This map was a crucial part of his evidence to prove his theory that cholera is formed from waste contaminated water. Snow’s maps were also published in numerous of paper and textbooks, and people were able to follow the spread of the disease. This is important because it introduced a new kind of communication within the city. The doctor’s paper maps have resulted in many of the maps we see in modern days. For example, we can easily access Google Earth and Yahoo! Maps nowadays. Moreover, just like how Whitehead’s voice as a local in the neighborhood helped solved the epidemic, city government in the modern world have been using mapping technologies such as te 311 service. Without Snow’s original maps and the contribution of Whitehead’s local expertise, we would not have these advanced mapping

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