A CyberGIS Approach to Exploring Neighborhood-level COVID-19

Authors: SU HAN*, , SU YEON HAN, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Jeon-Young Kang, Kongju National University, Shaohua Wang, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Fangzheng Lyu, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Shaowen Wang, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Cartography
Keywords: Neighborhood, visual analytics, open source GIS, CyberGIS, COVID19
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 8
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The U.S. has become a new epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is increasing evidence that some neighborhoods, such as communities of color, are being hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19. However, less attention has been paid to a systematic exploration of neighborhood characteristics in relation to COVID-19 outbreaks. This study aims to (1) explore disparities in COVID-19 infections, tests, and deaths between neighborhoods, and (2) identify vulnerable neighborhoods to COVID-19. To achieve this goal, we made a cyberGIS-enabled visual analytics system called vulnerable neighborhood explorer (VNE) that allows users to (1) delineate neighborhoods based on their selection of variables describing socioeconomic and demographic profile, and (2) explore which neighborhood has higher COVID-19 infection, test, confirmed and fatality rates than another. As a case study, we used VNE and examined the disparities in COVID-19 infection, test, and fatality rate between different neighborhood types in each of four geographically different U.S. cities, Chicago, New York, Phoenix, and Miami. The result shows that the four cities have commonalities and differences in demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of vulnerable neighborhoods to COVID-19. The VNE developed in this study will be able to be used as a decision support tool - i.e., it would help public health officials or policymakers to make decisions regarding where to distribute COVID-19 related healthcare resources, such as ventilators, ICU beds, testing kits, and health professionals.

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