GroupMappers, a group of volunteers, is a Bangladesh-based crowdsourcing initiative consisting of citizen scientists actively collaborating to develop nascent methodologies to assist our goal of eliminating diseases, thereby serving the needs of our remote communities, organized by the Epidemiology Department of Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), Thailand. GroupMappers has been in operation since 2017 working in support of the Communicable Disease Control Programs under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) in Bangladesh, through innovative data collection processes and advanced geospatial data analysis.

Over the years, GroupMappers has organized several workshops and training programs to guide young enthusiasts regarding the practical applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It has also created dengue risk-zoning map of Dhaka during the outbreak last year. Its activity increased during the outbreak of COVID-19 with a range of activities to support COVID-19 response across the region. For Bangladesh, this work began with creation of a COVID-19 situation dashboard, followed by identifying and visualizing risk zones and analyzing population movement patterns.

it has been featured as a local GIS application resource for COVID-19 situation response in the hub of ESRI Bangladesh and also published in MORU e-news followed by Health GeoLab Collaborative

Figure 01: Dashboard on the up-to-date situation of COVID-19

The dashboard on the COVID-19 outbreak for Bangladesh portrays the up-to-date situation here with daily updates and new analyses added in real-time. It has been created using data from press releases of the Integrated Control Room, DGHS, Mohakhali, Dhaka; HEOC, and IEDCR and is available to anyone with internet access.

Features include graphs with the counts of confirmed cases, deaths, recovered cases, numbers tested, in quarantine, isolation history, age and gender; and maps showing numbers of confirmed and quarantined cases, the location of the nearest hospital for testing; current lockdowns in Bangladesh; and educational videos from different sources.

Figure 02: Dashboard on population movement.

It has been featured as a local GIS application resource for COVID-19 situation response in the hub of ESRI Bangladesh and also published in the MORU e-news and by Health GeoLab Collaborative which supports low and middle income countries in Asia and the Pacific to use geospatial data, and technologies to achieve the health-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 3). 

Pioneered by Prof. Richard J Maude, head of Epidemiology Department at MORU, GroupMappers is currently engaged in the ‘‘Real-time population mapping to assess the impact of travel restrictions and social distancing on COVID-19 spread’ project funded by Oxford University. The project involves analyzing data from Bangladesh, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand to map and quantify accessibility to health services for COVID-19 and data on population movement and social distancing for Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam from the Facebook Data.

Other Highlights

Besides, heatmap of daily case trajectories of Bangladesh, Bangladesh’s COVID-19 cases (%) compared to tests and deaths (%) compared to cases, Bangladesh COVID-19 confirmed death cases compared to that of neighboring countries are some other activities that are worth mentioning

Figure 06: Heatmap of daily case trajectories of Bangladesh

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Undergraduate student of the Department of Geography & Environment, University of Dhaka. Member of GroupMappers.

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