Taiwan platform includes over 100 apps showing mask availability in stores

Taiwan digital minister creates platform with real-time info about nearest stores selling face masks and percentage in stock

Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) has overseen the development of an online platform that contains over 100 digital maps that provide real-time information about the availability of supplies of face masks across Taiwan.

As news of the Wuhan coronavirus spread and panic buying of surgical face masks gripped Taiwan in early February, supplies quickly ran low. Although the government implemented different rationing schemes, such as limiting three per day and later only two per week, supplies were quickly exhausted.

Tang worked with a team of engineers to develop a platform that can host real-time, interactive maps that show the locations of authorized stores that sell masks and how many they have in stock. On Feb. 6, the day that the new mask rationing policy went into effect, Tang announced at 9 a.m. on her Facebook page the launch of the new face mask website.

Many countries such as the U.S. and Japan have praised Taiwan’s ability to quickly develop these digital maps. The platform now contains over 100 programs and applications created by the private sector to inform the public about mask availability using open data provided by the health authorities.

The top map on the platform, titled “Instant Mask Map” (即時口罩地圖), by Goodideas-Studio (好想工作室), is arguably the most straightforward because it uses a color-coded system to indicate what percentage of masks are still in stock. Select a given area on the map with the cursor and click on one of the following colored bars: gray (no masks), pink (20 percent or less), yellow (20 to 50 percent), green (50 percent or more), and blue (show all).

The map will display the name of the store, its location, opening hours, and contact information. It also lists the exact number of adult masks and child masks still in stock.

Date: 2020-02-27
Source: Taiwan News