Just two months before COVID-19 showed the entire world the risk posed by emerging diseases, Geomatys decided to hire infectious disease ecologist and epidemiologist Dr. Jessica (Jessie) Abbate to explore the ways that geospatial intelligence can be applied to help identify, predict, and ultimately reduce health risks. Remaining partially involved in academia, and currently consulting to support the World Health Organization’s regional office for Africa in their response to COVID-19, Jessie is developing innovative partnerships across both public and private sectors. Our platform allows access to geospatial technologies that have thus far been largely under-utilized in the field of epidemiology.
Under this new motivation, Geomatys has become involved in several projects:
- The Open Geospatial Consortium Health Domain Working Group initiative to federate efforts to build a global health spatial data infrastructure (SDI). In collaboration with HSR.health, we are building an SDI to leveraging the power of geospatial BigData technology to identify early-warning indicators of public health threats that can be offered to decision-makers across sectors to mitigate their social, economic and public health tolls.
- The University of Montpellier’s KIM Risques Infectieuses VEctors (RIVE) consortium. We are poised to partner with local research institutions on initiatives to reduce risks associated with diseases transmitted by vectors (such as mosquitos and ticks).
- As a data scientist, Jessie is using Geomatys’ EXAMIND DataCube platform to understand how human movement at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic may have given clues about how it spread around the world, and in particular, how the African continent managed to avoid the same fate as nearly all other equally inhabited continents. This work builds on a model developed by collaborating researchers from WorldPop.org, and aims to integrate human movement trajectories to augment the departure-and-arrival-based nature of current datasets. To hear her give an overview about this work, visit the Sigma Xi special COVID-19 seminar series on Friday, October 30 at 2pm EDT / 7pm CET, or view the recording which will be posted shortly after. Be sure to register in advance if you want to join live and ask questions.