Battling COVID-19 with Data, Analytics, and Location Intelligence Technology

Image from the Asian Post

COVID-19 has brought the value of location data into public awareness in a very concrete way. Compared to the Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1918, people now live in an era where data and technology are leveraged to provide the Government and Citizens with better information and also equipped them with tools to respond to the challenges that are created by the COVID-19. 

Over the past few months, we’ve seen thousands of applications of location technology across the globe with mapping solutions used in almost every news broadcast we see, both at a global and local level. Thousands of organizations are taking advantage of the location intelligence technology like geographic information systems, or GIS, as an integral part of their preparedness and response activities.

Here are a few location technologies that have been helping in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic:

Geographical Information System- From contact tracing to creating buffer zones around COVID-19 clusters, people around the world are using mapping and location-tracking technology to fight the pandemic. Geographical Information System is a great help in combatting the COVID-19 by capturing and analyzing data using spatial trends. In the context of disease surveillance and monitoring, it integrates data such as the area of outbreak, population health, and available infrastructure in the area to identify the population at risk. Organizations like the WHO uses a mapping system to create a dashboard of the Coronavirus situation around the world.

Image from WHO

Another great example is South Korea’s Corona Map. The Corona Map App tracks the locations of people known to have COVID-19. The app plots the locations of positive patients in a map and the idea is to let the public know if they may have crossed paths with carriers, whose names are not made public. 

Image from Business Insider

Google Mobility Reports- Google used smartphone location data in February and March and revealed insights into how social distancing has affected the public’s travel behavior across the world. Google gathered the location data of smartphone users to see how foot traffic in popular areas has dropped. Google Mobility Reports provide insights into what has changed in response to policies aimed at combating COVID-19. Google’s reports cover 131 countries and examine visitation and movement patterns in high-level categories, such as retail, grocery, transit, and workplace. The reports chart movement trends over time by geography with the use of Google Maps. Google has also partnered on COVID-19 contact tracing using location data.

Facility Mapping Solution- This mapping solution creates a dashboard maps that visualize the locations of hospitals with available beds, clinics offering medical aid, grocery stores, pharmacies, along with data like current wait times and where hospitals can locate critical supplies like ventilators. This mapping solution allows states and municipalities to better understand their current healthcare capacity to respond to COVID-19 infections and to make quick adjustments to scale up where needed.

Image from ESRI

Although the tech used in different countries vary, the ultimate goal of adopting these methods are universal; track and contain. In addition to enhancing respective healthcare systems, other countries’ quick ability to utilize its technological resources can protect and save lives on a grand scale. Now the COVID-19 pandemic is driving the need for time-sensitive, geospatially based decisions as part of the overall national response to the crisis.

Source: Marketing Land, Indiaspend, Business Insider, Esri