Using GIS in the Time of the COVID-19 Crisis, casting a glance at the future. A joint discussion


  • Jack Dangermond President of Esri, Redlands, California, USA
  • Corrado De Vito Dipartimento di Sanità  Pubblica e Malattie Infettive, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
  • Cristiano Pesaresi Dipartimento di Lettere e Culture Moderne, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy


This paper was born as a joint discussion about the possible use of GIS for tackling health emergencies in cases of infectious diseases and pandemic. After providing some considerations regarding the COVID-19 sanitary and epidemiological aspects and implications, we underline and discuss some GIS applications produced to support the emergency phases and representing and sharing data in some continuously updated dashboards and becoming reference elaborations. In particular, the need for the development of rigorous GIS systems for pandemic response is highlighted and some recommendations for recording a notable added value are expressed, with a first reference to a set of applications focused on the United States. Other considerations, deriving from the experience that we have actively had working in Italy, are then focused on the need to elaborate detailed models of spatial and temporal diffusion in a GIS environment, according to ad hoc data, and digital flow (or route) maps, based on data tracking, with the aim to save human lives. For this purpose, some thoughts are expressed on the importance of finding the way to overcome a number of difficulties due to the management of sensitive data and privacy aspects, guaranteeing appropriate confidentiality.  


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Health Education (edited by Corrado De Vito)