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.
“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.