How Connectivity Can Save Lives During COVID-19

By Richard Leadbeater

Geography and location analysis has a crucial role in a better understanding of this evolving epidemic. For a long time now, the healthcare community has used maps to understand the spread of disease. Most famously in 1854, when Dr. John Snow connected location and illness with his history-making map of a London cholera outbreak.

From disease atlases of the early 20th century to more recent web mapping of Ebola and Zika scares, healthcare professionals have long considered mapping, and more recently geographic information systems (GIS), a critical tool in tracking and combating contagion. As elected officials, you don’t always have operational duties when it comes to addressing disasters, but you do have the responsibility to lead. In today’s world, leadership comes in the form of communicating the right information, at the right time, to the entire community.

As an NLC partner, Esri has built an online GIS system to help local leaders track and learn about the spread of Covid-19. The ArcGIS hub site ( houses the many global, regional, and local applications being built around the world by its trusted partners. The site also includes relevant data resources that municipal officials can use to develop their own dashboards, web maps and apps.

Esri will continue to update this site with new data and support as they become available, allowing you to make essential decisions and communicate with your stakeholders accurately and quickly.

Other Coronavirus dashboards built by the World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins University intend to educate the public about the spread of the virus and to inform critical actions, like travel bans and quarantine measures. These are indispensable sources of information when we need to know more to protect our communities best.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a dashboard to track the global spread of COVID-19.


Esri wants to help and support local leaders and their organizations’ efforts around coronavirus planning and response. To that end, Esri has been working with many of its key partners to make readily available the best information products, maps, and dashboards. Please contact for immediate questions.

One final reminder. Esri’s Disaster Response Program (DRP) assists with disasters worldwide. It is part of our efforts to be a responsible corporate citizen.

Esri supports response and relief efforts with complimentary GIS technology and technical expertise when your capacity is exceeded. If you would like support, please submit a Request for Assistance form and let us know how we can help. Requests are monitored 24/7 and available to assist you with GIS software needs, technical support, services, and data.

Other Dashboard Examples:

GIS specialists from Esri China produced a dashboard that also includes the number of suspected but unconfirmed COVID-19 cases and links to recent news stories.

A Hong Kong-based dashboard contributes a feature showing the locations of buildings visited by higher concentrations of confirmed cases and the locations of current quarantines—a detail that can help residents of those areas actively reduce their exposure.Esri_Dashboard_5


About the Author: Richard Leadbeater is Esri’s Industry Solutions Manager for Government Associations.