Learning from COVID-19: GIS for Pandemics

Learning from COVID-19: GIS for Pandemics

Learning from COVID-19: GIS for Pandemics

Learning from COVID-19: GIS for Pandemics


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Now that the health community is in a state of reflection, how do we put the lessons learned into practice?

As we step back to examine the worldwide response to the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to think about how to raise the bar for our response to the next public health emergency. Now is the time to revisit health preparedness strategies and plans. And now is the time to review what the health community did that worked—and how we can do that again.

Learning from COVID-19: GIS for Pandemics tells real-life stories about how spatial thinking became invaluable in both local and full-scale outbreaks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Needing to answer the question of “where” sat at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and using a geographic information system (GIS) for real-time surveillance transformed possibly overwhelming data into location intelligence that provided agencies and civic leaders with valuable insights. 

Co-edited by Esri chief medical officer Dr. Este Geraghty, this book highlights best practices, key GIS capabilities, and lessons learned during the COVID-19 response that can help communities prepare for the next crisis. GIS has empowered:

  • Organizations to use human mobility data to estimate the adherence to social distancing guidelines
  • Communities to monitor their health care systems’ capacity through spatially enabled surge tools
  • Governments to use location-allocation methods to site new resources (i.e., testing sites and augmented care sites) in ways that account for at-risk and vulnerable populations
  • Communities to use maps and spatial analysis to review case trends at local levels to support reopening of economies
  • Organizations to think spatially as they consider “back-to-the-workplace” plans that account for physical distancing and employee safety needs

Learning from COVID-19 also includes a “next steps” section that provides ideas, strategies, tools, and actions to help jump-start your own use of GIS, either as a citizen scientist or a health professional. A collection of online resources, including additional stories, videos, new ideas and concepts, and downloadable tools and content, complements this book.

Now is the time to use science and data to make informed decisions for our future, and this book shows us how we can do it.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781589487116
Publisher: Esri Press
Publication date: 08/16/2022
Series: Applying GIS , #8
Pages: 204
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Dr. Este Geraghty is the Chief Medical Officer and Health Solutions Director at Esri where she leads business development for the Health and Human Services sector.

Matt Artz is a content strategist for Esri Press. He brings a wide breadth of experience in environmental science, technology, and marketing.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

How to use this book xvii

Part 1 Situational Awareness 1

Global dashboard keeps tabs on the virus 5

Johns Hopkins University

Supporting state dashboards to better monitor cases and capacity 10

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

It's in the wastewater: Sensing and mapping COVID-19 14

University of California San Diego

A new tool for contact tracing 20


GIS-based contact tracing initiative sets US precedent 24

Cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, York, and Wilkes-Bare, Pennsylvania

Part 2 Equitable Resource Allocation 31

Analyzing racial inequities during COVID-19 35


Spatial approaches to determining accessibility 41


GIS helps achieve equitable, speedy vaccine distribution 47


Applying location intelligence to vaccine distribution 57

City of Bethlehem Health Bureau, Pennsylvania, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and Lewis and Clark Public Health, Montana

Dashboards mark progress of rapid vaccinations 63

Chilean National System for the Coordination of Territorial Information

Using GIS to reach homebound residents for COVID-19 vaccination 68

Oregon Public Health Department

Part 3 Capacity and Infrastructure 73

Models and maps explore COVID-19 surges and capacity 76

Penn Medicine's Predictive Healthcare Team

Using maps and models to create surge hospital capacity 82

US Army Corps of Engineers

Solving medical supply chain problems 89

Direct Relief

Part 4 Communication and Engagement 93

Communication hub sites share COVID-19 news, resources 96

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; Maryland Department of Information Technology; University of South Florida; and Delaware County, Indiana

Equitable community engagement during COVID-19 101


GIS hub helps keep residents informed and safe 107

Cobb County, Georgia

Location intelligence helps boost census response rates 113

US Census Bureau

Part 5 Recovery and Resilience 121

Five spatial approaches to safely reopening 125


Evaluating readiness for relaxing stay-at-home measures 133


Assessing economic fallout with shared maps 140

Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, and Delaware Counties, and the city and county of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Balancing response and recovery 144


How to reopen the workplace during COVID-19 148


Covid-19: Our Lessons Learned 155

Next Steps 161

Conclusion 181

Contributors 185

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