Using GIS and Remote Data Collection on Housing to Combat COVID-19

How existing remote technology for monitoring housing in developing countries can be repurposed in the fight against COVID-19 is the subject of an interesting World Bank blog post.

Housing stock plays a role in the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, because a lack of running water prevents frequent handwashing and one bedroom for an entire family prevents social distancing.

The blog post focuses on the World Bank’s Global Program for Resilient Housing’s use of drones and car-mounted cameras to capture images of homes, which machine learning algorithms then process remotely applying the local context to extract characteristics about each house. When combined with existing geographic information system data, information on overcrowding, land tenure security, poor access to health services, and lack of utilities – which increase COVID-19 vulnerabilities – can be derived at a household and neighborhood level.

The post recommends decision-makers make use of such geospatial data and remote data collection methods to identify neighborhoods in need of sanitary housing interventions during the months ahead. Additional background on the World Bank’s Global Program for Resilient Housing is also available on the World Bank website.