7 WAYS GEOSPATIAL DATA HELPED DURING THE OUTBREAK OF COVID-19
Geospatial Data Helped During Covid-19
Geographic information science (GIS) has been established as a distinct domain and is incredibly useful whenever the research is related to geography, space, and other spatial dimensions.
However, the scientific landscape on the integration of GIS in COVID-related studies is largely unknown. Let us assess the implementation of GIS and other geospatial tools during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 is part of the coronavirus family that causes a range of familiar diseases from the common cold to SARS. Covid-19 is referred to as a novel coronavirus because it is new to humans. It is transmitted through the air with high risk in proximity.
The main advantage of GIS is mapping the many different locations of treatment and isolation facilities which helps in better monitoring and surveillance of the disease.
GIS was also employed to:
- Forecast the disease
- Predict areas where outbreaks were likely to occur
- Identify disease cluster or hotspot
- Evaluate different strategies to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
- Map/track the spread of the virus throughout different locations
- Constantly update the number of people affected and provide real-time information
- Identify the catchment areas, vulnerable groups, health centers, and movement of carriers of the disease.
With these data, it was easier for governments, health bodies, and associations to use the power of GIS to visualize all of the health data during the outbreak and spread of Covid-19 and therefore employ the best tactics and practices to combat the virus.
The widespread use of GIS for COVID-19 response has demonstrated the power of geospatial thinking and the scalability, speed, and insight it provides.
More than simply mapping phenomena, GIS uses geography to furnish context for events in a common reference system.
How Can Gis Be Used To Estimate Flood Damage?
We are currently in the rainy season here in Nigeria. In many areas, as people are happy to have the rains, including farmers and ranchers, others are unhappy due to the damages the heavy rains could cause to roads and properties.
Many parts of the country are known to be unable to withhold the impact of heavy rains which can lead to flooding, erosion, damage to buildings and infrastructure, loss of crops and livestock, and landslides that can threaten human life and disrupt transport and communication.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provides a broad range of tools for determining areas affected by floods and for forecasting areas that are likely to be flooded due to high water levels in a river. GIS will be extensively used to assemble information from different maps, aerial photographs, satellite images, and digital elevation models (DEM).
Input parameters such as ﬂood data, land use, socioeconomic data, and rainfall values are used to estimate flood damage. For any particular geographic area, it is important to have certain tools and software. These programs and data sets are top-notch for the GIS researcher.
- ArcGIS 10 (ArcView)
- HEC-GeoHMS for ArcGIS 10
- HEC-GeoRAS for ArcGIS 10
- ArcHydro tools (the version that works with ArcGIS 10)
- Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for the study area;
- SSURGO soil data;
- Land cover grid from USGS;
- Hydrography data
Several models and tools can be developed using these parameters. It all depends on the discretion of the researcher, their knowledge, expertise, and the purpose of the research.
If used properly, these tools can be used to determine information, including hazard, vulnerability, financial losses, the risk to life, and prevention, and control of dangerous floods.
GIS and the Environment
GIS means Geographic Information Systems. It is a potent tool for environmental data analysis and planning. Through the application of GIS technologies, the environment can be monitored for an effective and improved understanding of its physical features and the factors that influence certain environmental conditions.
GIS helps in identifying the impact of human behavior on natural resources and leads to more effective utilization and understanding of these factors. Data about natural resources could be collected through remote sensing, aerial photography, or satellite imagery and then they are mapped using GIS technology.
In order to plan and monitor the environmental problems, some of the ways GIS is used in environmental management include:
- Identification of contamination sources, assessing environmental constraints, and evaluating proposed highway alignment alternatives.
- Assessment of hazards and risks for effective disaster management and protection of the environment by showing the areas that are much more likely to be prone to both man-made and natural disasters.
- Discovering how natural atmospheric processes might affect global warming and climate change.
- Evaluation of flood damage by mapping core risk areas for documentation and provision of disaster relief funds.
- Soil Mapping for prevention of environmental deterioration due to land misuse. Farmers in developed countries can use this to determine the suitability of soil and the extent of soil nutrients.
In summary, GIS is used in the delivery of crucial information about the environment to the environmental managers and the public with the intent that such information should be applied for the betterment of the environment. GIS provides an ideal atmosphere for professionals to analyze data, apply models, and make the best decisions.