A Saskatoon software developer has taken matters into their own hands by developing a web map that highlights service outages at Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) facilities.
Joel Hill, who developed the software, explained how the web map works.
“What the page does is what we call web scraping,” he said. “So I have a service running on a cloud server and it sends a request to the SHA website, specifically this page where they list all the service outages, and it takes the response from that and parses all the information that I need to redisplay this data.
From this data, Hill is able to display disturbances on a user-friendly map.
Hill explained that part of the inspiration for the map can be attributed to the unstable health services in Saskatchewan.
“One of the issues we’re having right now is that the services are unreliable,” he said. “They’re not necessarily consistent and available across Saskatchewan and that information isn’t reported well, so I wanted to make that information accessible to people, or more accessible to people.”
Hill added that the SHA only posts disturbances that last longer than seven days, letting residents find out when they arrive.
The software developer also noted that there are disruptions dating back to 2020 and hopes the web map will draw attention to the shortage of services in the province.
“What the service should normally be is also not communicated,” Hill said. “Some of these places, even when they’re open and they don’t have a service outage, the service was only two or three days a week and that’s not really communicated either.
“So there’s a lot of other information beyond the services that are disrupted. Like when ambulances need to be diverted. That’s information that’s also not being communicated.
Hill said he hopes to eventually have a feature for residents to submit information for the web map.
View the web map displaying SHA facility outages here.