Odisha to Analyse People’s Movement Patterns To Track COVID-19, Partners With IIT Tirupati And Facebook
The mobility analysis will show if the people are flouting lockdown protocols and public health guidelines in various regions of the state.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced that the state has partnered with Facebook and Indian Institute of Technology Tirupati, or IIT Tirupati, “to analyse physical distancing in red zones and where more stringent enforcement needs to be deployed”.
To contain the spread of coronavirus, Odisha has decided to analyse the movement patterns of people in COVID-19 hot spots. For this purpose, it has partnered with IIT Tirupati. The team from IIT Tirupati, led by Dr Kalidas Yeturu of Computer Science Department, used artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse Facebook datasets, also referred to as Disease Prevention Maps, available for researchers and non-profits as a part of their Data for Good Program, the Indian Express reported.
The location feature of Facebook is used to pull anonymised data from smartphones and other devices with GPS. This data is used to generate a map that provides area-level information about distance and movement of people.
These Facebook datasets are used to establish near real-time mobility of people which can be used to find breaches of lockdown restrictions in particular areas of Odisha. This analysis can help the state administration to shape its strategic action.
“A software developed by IIT-Tirupati, GeoCov19, is being used to generate automated reports to list top 10 regions for the state administration to focus on,” Dr Kalidas, principal investigator for the project told the Indian Express.
Mobility Analysis To Track Infection
Apart from Facebook datasets, the IIT team also used red zone and ward-level coordinates, received from the Odisha Government, to prioritize areas.
Dr Kalidas said: “These values are computed for morning, evening and night times. Average values of mobility are determined to prioritise regions of high mobility especially during nights.”
Odisha is promptly using technology for many purposes for research and responding to crises such as Coronavirus pandemic and cyclones.
A similar study was done by IIT Madras using mobility data mapped from Facebook users and finding lockdown violations, the Economic Times reported.