Esri geospatial COVID-19 mapping tools assist with community contact tracing

As communities and companies start to reopen amid an ongoing pandemic contact tracing turns into the first line of defense. Leveraging location information can improve these efforts.


With no vaccine or cocktail of remedies accessible, contact tracing at the community level turns into the first line of defense. Geographic information system (GIS) software company Esri released information detailing an analytical functionality system known as Community Contact Tracing, a sophisticated spatially enabled method to contact tracing.

Contact tracing and the significance of space

Contact tracing is the process of backtracking the person-to-person contact and interactions of an contaminated particular person. This complex web of contacts can be utilized to pinpoint potential infectees and scale back the threat of additional transmission. Once recognized, self-quarantine efforts can then assist scale back the unfold past these potential infections, thus eradicating another vector from the equation.

More nuanced contact tracing could be achieved utilizing location information within the overall method. To accomplish this, the process requires “the location enablement of contact addresses and community locations during the data collection process.” This permits contact tracers to find out particular areas where the virus is spreading, adding another level of sophistication to the model.

Esri tools improve conventional contact tracing methods. Within ArcGIS Pro, for instance, “link analysis and centrality can identify places that may connect cases and contacts otherwise unknown to one another,” in keeping with the release. Once transmission hotspots within a community have been recognized, officials can then rethink ways to promote social distancing in these areas. Additionally, organizations can then schedule more rigorous decontamination efforts in these areas. There are myriad coronavirus dashboards accessible, many providing spatial interfaces and real-time data updates.

During a spike in cases, medical tools, such as ventilators and ICU beds, are at a premium. The spatial patterns concerned in coronavirus transmission are central to an efficient response strategy, especially at scale. By understanding cases and anticipated hospitalization in a given area, healthcare systems and local governments can then develop a more sophisticated location-allocation plan. These methods contain inserting surplus medical tools in areas where they are often quickly mobilized to most effectively attain surge cities or areas quickly.

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