An app developed by Filipinos won the Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge in the best use of data, the solution that best makes space data accessible, or leverages it to a unique application. Using Earth observation, in-country economic and human mobility data, and global infection case counts, data analysts Nick Tobia, Helen Mary Barrameda, Kristel Joyce Zapata, Theresa Rosario Tan, and Miguel Oscar Castelo from CirroLytix created a dashboard for policymakers and economic planners to show the impact of COVID-19 on various countries and effects on the economy and environment.
For context, the Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge is a special edition of NASA’s annual Space Apps Challenge, an international hackathon that takes place around the world and online every October.
Named G.I.D.E.O.N. (Global Impact Detection from Emitted Light, Onset of Covid-19, and Nitrogen Dioxide), (to be honest, I’m a bit disappointed its not an AI used in a time travelling spaceship) the app uses news feeds, Google mobility data, and coronavirus cases revealing the multi-dimensional impact of lockdown and other interventions. Night lights from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) and nitrogen dioxide levels from Sentinel-5P show current impacts and forecast effects of lockdown. Google’s community mobility reports, global infection data from Johns Hopkins University, and nitrogen dioxide data reveal pollution levels produced by human activity, and monitor which countries keep air quality under control as they bounce back from lockdown and pave the way for the “new normal.”
Aside from having a global winner, The Philippines has 2 more teams made it to the global finals as well.
Inspired by social isolation experienced by astronauts in space, Snail Space (A wordplay for snail’s pace) is an app giving a “safe space” by providing mental care and comfort during times of social isolation brought by COVID-19 pandemic. It was developed by the Celestial Snails team comprised of Arturo Caronongan III, Kevin Olanday, In Yong Lee, Mary Anne Dominique Casacop, and Gabriel Santiago from De La Salle University.
With public health in mind, Sentinellium leverages user data sent through SMS and chat, and space assets like population density, urbanization, and aerosol to provide a more accurate prediction of developing epidemics. This was done by Harlee Quizzagan, James Andrew C. Cornes, Angela Chua, Alaica Mariño, Joal Rose Lin, and Mohammad Ashraful Mobin, in which their group was formed during the hackathon period.
“The use of these modern and advanced technologies will be crucial, especially as the world navigates the fourth industrial revolution. Using big data, cloud, and AI applications for instance, could help us understand the severity of the disease and aid in delivering measures to mitigate its impact. This really fills me with great optimism that our young and talented startups and Filipinos have so much to offer and contribute to our efforts to provide solutions to address health and economic crisis,”
Dr. Rafaelita “Fita” M. Aldaba, Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
The Since 2012, teams have engaged with NASA’s free and open data to address real-world problems on Earth and in space. Space Apps 2019 included more than 29,000 participants in 71 countries, developing more than 2,000 hackathon solutions over one weekend. This NASA-led initiative is organized in collaboration with Booz Allen Hamilton, Mindgrub, and SecondMuse. The next annual Space Apps Challenge is scheduled for October 2-4, 2020 in a virtual format. Registration opens August 15: https://2020.spaceappschallenge.org/locations/manila