Fighting COVID-19 with geospatial tech
The City of Elgin, Illinois, is using ArcGIS to help keep citizens informed about local case loads and critical services
Communities have turned to Esri's ArcGIS platform for a variety of reasons over the years.
Even Walgreens turned to the mapping system in its fight against the opioid crisis, creating interactive maps to help communities access safe disposal sites for unused medications.
And now, the City of Elgin, Illinois, is using the technology to help its citizens weather the pandemic.
"As part of the continued response to the coronavirus and its impacts to the community and economy," wrote Assistant City Manager Karina Nava, "the City of Elgin released a new interactive mapping hub that supports local businesses and organizations, while providing consistent information for its residents."
In addition to the latest Elgin-area COVID-19 statistics, community members can use the Coronavirus Mapping Resource Center to access a variety of resources, including testing sites, food pantries and school free meal distribution sites, mental health and substance abuse services, legal services and more.
Residents can also learn about business closures and altered operation schedules in their area.
“Any community that is looking to put together a COVID-19 resource map should start with the tools they have," said City of Elgin GIS Analyst Rich Snyder. "If they are using ArcGIS, then they have everything they need to produce interactive maps and other dynamic tools for their cities and residents."
Yet, the tools, Snyder points out, are only one part of the equation.
"Another major factor in the success of their maps, dashboards, and hubs is collaboration with other departments. Community outreach is best handled by those who do it daily, and their expertise is critical in forming the questions that appear on the forms so that the local businesses needs and concerns are met, as well as providing the data that the public wants and needs.”