Filipino startup recognized in addressing SDG’s using space tech

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    WHY bother with Dengvaxia when technology can be used to detect the swarming of mosquitoes and more human-centric, possibly environmentally sound solutions can be implemented to halt an epidemic?

    Recently a Filipino startup did just that. Using space technology, including satellites and clever coding, Cytrolix Research Services developed a dengue hotspot prediction system using satellite and climate data. It has been recognized in the 2020 Group on Earth Observations Sustainable Development Goals (GEO SDG) Awards for the Sectoral category, For-Profit.

    Called Project Advanced Early Dengue Prediction and Exploration Service (Project AEDES) is one of CirroLytix’s flagship projects developed and won during the 2019 National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) International Space Apps Challenge in the best use of data category, where it was recognized as the solution that “best makes space data accessible, or leverages it to a unique application.”

    It combines digital, climate, and remote sensing to nowcast dengue trends and detects mosquito habitats to help pre-empt cases of dengue. Project AEDES process leverages normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), Fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR), and normalized difference water index (NDWI) readings from Landsat and Sentinel-2 to estimate still water areas on the ground, which is correlated with dengue case counts from national health centers.

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    The Advanced Early Dengue Prediction and Exploration Service (Project AEDES) combines digital, climate, and remote sensing to nowcast dengue trends and detect mosquito habitats to help pre-empt cases of dengue.

    “Project AEDES is an early detection of panics from online searches, anticipating case counts from environment readings, but most importantly pinpointing hotspots from mosquito habitat detection,” Dominic Vincent “Doc” Ligot, co-founder and chief technology officer of CirroLytix explains.

    “I am glad that the GEO SDG Awards Panel has selected CirroLytix for an award, recognizing the importance of this work in developing an EO-integrated dengue case predictor mapping system,”. Argyro Kavvada, lead for Sustainable Development Goals of the Earth Science Division said. Kavvada is also NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and executive secretary of the international Earth Observations for the Sustainable Development Goals (EO4SDG).

    Aside from winning last year, CirroLytix also developed an integrated public policy information portal measuring the impact of the coronavirus pandemic using Earth observation, in-country economic and human mobility data, and global infection case counts, thus winning again in the Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge for the same category in the best use of data. Named G.I.D.E.O.N. (Global Impact Detection from Emitted Light, Onset of COVID-19, and Nitrogen Dioxide), this dashboard for policymakers and economic planners shows the impact of COVID-19 on various countries and effects on the economy and environment.

    “These awards really could stand as an inspiration to all of us about what can be done, and what needs to be done to ensure that Earth-observations contribute to make our world a better, and more sustainable place,” said Lawrence Friedl director of the Applied Sciences Program of the Earth Science Division, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and co-chair of EO4SDG.

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    2020 GEO SDG Awardees together with Dominic Vincent “Doc” Ligot, co-founder and chief technology officer of CirroLytix
    The Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Dr. Rafaelita “Fita” M. Aldaba heartfeltly congratulates CirroLytix. “It’s indeed a blessing amid this pandemic and economic crisis that we are currently faced with,” she said.
    The award-winning startup continues to update the AEDES framework to include socio-economic risk mapping to turn it into a health and environmental policy tool. Aside from dengue, the company also supports COVID-19 modeling and response initiatives with the public health sector. CirroLytix’s current involvements include public health, human rights, fighting disinformation, education and food security.
    “How many times should these Filipino innovators and achievers need to win before being recognized and appreciated by our own country? To be recognized by not just one, but five space agencies is something has not yet been achieved by Filipinos, how much more of a multitude of countries and nations supporting the sustainable development goals of the United Nations?” Michael Lance M. Domagas, Space Apps lead organizer in the Philippines said as he appeals support for our Filipino scientists and technologists.
    Winners shall be invited to visit NASA once travel is deemed safe, but unfortunately, travel, meals and incidental expenses, and accommodation expenses are not provided.
    The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is a partnership of more than 100 national governments and in excess of 100 participating organizations that envisions a future where decisions and actions for the benefit of humankind are informed by coordinated, comprehensive and sustained Earth observation.
    The GEO SDG Awards recognized the productivity, ingenuity, proficiency, novelty, and exemplary communications of results and experiences in the use of Earth observations to support sustainable development.

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