Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Uttarakhand state in northern India has requested the AIT Geoinformatics Center (GIC) to upgrade an existing geospatial platform to aid its handling of the crisis.

The recent call comes from the same government that hired GIC last year to execute a project called “Implementation of an Integrated Geospatial Platform, Database, and Applications for Disaster Risk Management” under a World Bank funded ini-tiative. The geospatial platform was originally designed to monitor natural hazards, provide early warning and support decision making for effective disaster management.

The AIT Geoinformatics Center has now customized the platform to address the pandemic by taking advantage of the existing database and information in the system.

A dedicated COVID-19 decision support system has been established within the existing geospatial platform, which is capable of providing locations of COVID-19 outbreak hotspots in the state; estimation of populations around a hotspot; locations of designated COVID-19 hospitals and quarantine facilities, capacities, occupancies and inventories of life-saving equipment; locations of designated COVID-19 test laboratories including number of samples tested and positive cases; live locations of ambulances; status of migrant labor coming from other states due to the ongoing lockdown in India and locations of food grain storage facilities and capacity availabilities.

According to GIC Director Dr. Manzul Kumar Hazarika, the COVID-19 Decision Support System will help the State Government of Uttarakhand to visualize the information up to a house-level and manage COVID-19 patient care and case hotspots in a much better way by knowing the number of people to quarantine, and food and other logistics requirements in any specific location.

“Efforts are being made to get the mobile phone locations of the COVID-19 patients, people sent for quarantine, and migrant labor information to integrate into the system to monitor their movements,” he added.

The geospatial platform is device-independent and can be accessed and viewed from smart-phones, tablets, laptops and personal computers. The information is available and accessible to government agencies and decision-makers in the form of maps to help them in monitoring and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic across the entire state.

The online platform and its data are also available to the Government officials in Uttarakhand, but non-sensitive information is expected to be made available to the public to provide situational awareness for citizens.