Practical example and current challenges
- Reliable real-time information on the development of viral infections (epidemics, pandemics) can, based on a uniform data basis and nationwide, both facilitate efficient crisis management and contribute to a more objective public debate. This creates transparency and supports the formation of public opinion while counteracting the spread of fake news on the Internet.
- Data on the COVID 19 pandemic is currently being collected in many places. Of importance are the case numbers of the districts and regions, which thus establish the geographical reference of the infections. These case numbers are recorded in a central database with a time lag (due to the health reporting system), so that near-real-time information is possible regionally but not nationwide. The use of further situation-relevant data (e.g. population mobility, hospital occupancy rates, socio-demography) depends on emergency regulations and the corresponding responsibilities. The exchange of data between organisations, authorities and individuals therefore depends to a large extent on the crisis. A situation-independent platform approach (both in terms of technology and organisation) - which is crisis-independent - has not yet been realised. Due to the geographical connection of the infection figures, a cartographic-spatial representation and analysis is essential, since only in this way spatial phenomena can be communicated effectively.
- The changed overall circumstances as a result of the corona crisis has exposed the shortcomings of the current decentralised electronic reporting system. In this system, the flow of information is not seamless, and considerable delays occur before updated information is made available in a nationwide, consistent, and centralised format. This has a negative impact on the provision of information for science, crisis management, the press, the public and websites of the federal government, the German regions, districts and local authorities, and the spatial relevance has so far only been considered in a limited way. Methods of spatial analysis have been used only rudimentarily.
- There is already an almost real-time dashboard which uses official case numbers to visualise and document the spread of COVID-19 within Germany. However, the use and roll-out of the dashboard is significantly reduced due to the time lag in health reporting. Irritations are caused, for example, by the different reporting times of different information services in the press, federal, state and local authorities.
- Cooperation across all levels of government with the aim of establishing a central real-time information service that uses spatial analytics could support the dissemination of near-real-time dashboards for COVID-19 and other types of infection. It could also significantly increase their leverage effect by allowing a variety of purpose-specific uses (crisis committees, economic policy, mobility development, socio-demographic impact).
What added value does the "GAIA-X project" offer?
- GAIA-X ensures the secure operation of a platform on which data is combined to provide reliable situational images and for monitoring the situation (e.g. for the spread or distribution of the virus within Germany, socio-demographic impact, public mobility, meeting tracking) and for situation analysis, while at the same time ensuring information security and data protection.
- The COVID-19 Dashboard is ready for use and market launch. Besides, a data hub has been made available via the ‘National Platform for the Integration, Analysis, and Communication of Geodata’ (NPGeo). This allows organisations and individuals alike to receive spatial and temporal data and to provide or analyse data themselves.
- Thanks to GAIA-X infrastructure, IT service is highly scalable and easy to administer. Thus, even if usage numbers are high, the central dashboard will run smoothly. In fact, it is possible to operate further purpose-specific dashboards on a single and valid basis of data.
- In the long term, specific dashboards will be created for further infection information services. The resulting data, usage, and analysis requirements can be met thanks to the scalability provided by GAIA-X. This can be done in the form of an interoperable connection of different GAIA-X nodes, which contain the relevant information and provide spatial analysis functionality.
- Hon. Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Gerd Buziek – Esri Germany GmbH