Using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to communicate and understand the spread of COVID-19.
Geography and location analysis have a crucial role in a better understanding of this evolving epidemic. For a long time now, the health care community has used maps to understand the spread of disease (most famously in 1854, when Dr. John Snow connected location and illness with his history-making map of a London cholera outbreak). From disease atlases of the early 20th century to more recent web mapping of Ebola and Zika scares, health care professionals have long considered mapping, and more recently geographic information systems (GIS), a critical tool in tracking and combating contagion.
Hopefully you have seen the Coronavirus dashboards built by the World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins University. These dashboards intend to educate the public about the spread of the virus and to inform critical actions, like travel bans and quarantine measures. These are indispensable sources of information, but we need to know more to protect our communities best. As elected officials, you don’t always have operational duties when it comes to addressing disasters, but you do have the responsibility to lead. In today’s world, leadership comes in the form of communicating the right information, at the right time, to the entire community.
Esri wants to help support you and your organizations’ efforts when it comes to coronavirus planning and response. To that end, Esri has been working with many of our key partners to make readily available the best information products, maps, and dashboards, that you can utilize.
Please visit the Coronavirus ArcGIS Hub site (https://go.esri.com/Coronavirus) that houses the many global, regional and local applications being built around the world by our trusted partners. We’ve also included relevant data resources that you can use to develop your dashboards and web maps & apps. Esri will continue to update this Hub site with new data and support as they become available, allowing you to make essential decisions and communicate with your stakeholders accurately and quickly.
We’re here to help. Please contact HealthInfo@esri.com for immediate questions.
One final reminder. Esri’s Disaster Response Program (DRP) assists with disasters worldwide; it is part of our efforts to be a responsible corporate citizen. We support response and relief efforts with complimentary GIS technology and technical expertise when your capacity is exceeded. If you would like support, please submit a Request for Assistance form and let us know how we can help. Requests are monitored 24/7 and can assist you with GIS software needs, technical support, services, and data.
Additional example dashboards:
John Hopkins University (JHU) is tracking the spread of COVID-19 in near real time with a map-centric dashboard using ArcGIS Online that pulls relevant data from WHO, U.S. CDC, ECDC China CDC (CCDC), NHC, and Dingxiangyuan.
China’s Heilongjiang coronavirus dashboard includes a breakdown of infection status by cities within the province. The inclusion of the number of new cases per city per day allows citizens and experts to observe the disease progression within their immediate vicinity.
A Hong Kong-based dashboard contributes a feature showing the locations of buildings visited by higher concentrations of confirmed cases and the locations of current quarantines—a detail that can help residents of those areas actively reduce their exposure. Several of these tools, like the one created by Johns Hopkins, include a mobile-optimized version, which makes the dashboards more versatile and accessible to the public on phones or tablets.