November 10, 2020 Library to Host Experts on Mapping COVID-19 Pandemic for GIS Day 2020

Press Contact: Leah Knobel
Public Contact: John Hessler

The Library of Congress will mark GIS Day on Nov. 18 with special programs featuring geographic information science professionals and analysts who are documenting the outbreak of COVID-19.

For cartographers and epidemiologists tracking the spread, evolution and mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as the distribution of a potential vaccine and personal protective equipment, the outbreak of COVID-19 has presented a geospatial analysis challenge like none other.

Experts from multiple institutions will discuss their findings and examine how mapping and geographic information science technologies are helping public health officials, emergency rooms, epidemiologists and the general public as they struggle to understand the spread of the disease and work to allocate precious resources.

The following presentations will premiere on Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. ET with closed captions on both the Library’s YouTube page and website. Presentations will also be available for viewing at a later day.

GIS Day 2020 at the Library of Congress: Mapping a Pandemic

Keynote: Este Geraghty, chief medical officer, Esri, discussing “The Role of GIS in Fighting the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic”

The following presenters will discuss new methods for tracking and mapping COVID-19:

  • Ensheng Dong, Center for System Science and Engineering, John Hopkins University, presenting on building the Johns Hopkins COVID dashboard, “Historic First: Mapping the Pandemic in Real Time”
  • Mike Schoelen, Esri Health and Human Services, discussing the distribution of vaccines and personal protective equipment, “Driven by GIS: A Resilient Supply Chain for COVID-19”
  • John Hessler, Library of Congress and Johns Hopkins University, discussing how mutations of the virus are being tracked globally, “More Than Just Cases: Mapping the Genome and Mutations of SARS-CoV-2”

GIS Day — held during Geography Awareness Week (Nov. 15-21) — is an annual, global celebration of GIS and mapping technology, with events held by organizations around the world. Since 1999, GIS Day has served as a forum to promote the benefits of GIS research, demonstrate real-world applications of GIS and foster open idea sharing and growth in the GIS community.

The Library has made a concerted effort to document the pandemic’s impact on American society and the future of public health. Library specialists have focused efforts on capturing real-time geospatial data from official sources, such as Johns Hopkins’ Center for Systems Science and Engineering, that map transmissions of the virus and genomic data, ensuring data and maps for future analyses are preserved in the Library’s collections. Specialists are also collecting geospatial data and analysis associated with the use of newly developed machine learning and other AI techniques used by scientists to track COVID-19.

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PR 20-073
ISSN 0731-3527