Learn about Mapping a Pandemic in The Science of Where

Written by: The Exchange

Many of us have spent the last month regularly hitting refresh on our web browsers to update the map that has now become ubiquitous in (quite literally) bearing witness to the persistent spread of COVID-19. Mapping technologies are used in a variety of situations to track vast amounts of data. The ability to layer and combine information from multiple sources and then tie the results to location has been instrumental in exposing the hidden patterns that facilitate informed decision-making. We’ve seen in real-time how this has helped scientists better understand rapidly unfolding events related to the global pandemic. Esri, the world’s leading location intelligence platform, has mastered the science of finding patterns in data to create connections to reveal a window to the world that would otherwise remain closed.


Jack Dangermond is the founder and president of Esri. With a background in landscape architecture and urban design, he and his wife, Laura, founded Esri in 1969 on the idea that computer-based mapping and analysis could make significant contributions to geographic planning and environmental science. Since then, Esri has become the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) and location intelligence, with 49 offices worldwide, 11 dedicated research centers, and a strong user base of about 350,000 organizations around the world. Dangermond has received many acknowledgements and awards for his contributions to the fields of geography, environmental science, planning, and GIS, including 13 honorary degrees.

Este Geraghty is the Chief Medical Officer at Esri, developer of the world’s most powerful mapping and analytics platform. She heads Esri’s worldwide health and human services practice and is passionate about transforming health organizations through a geographic approach. Previously, Este was the deputy director of the Center for Health Statistics and Informatics at the California Department of Public Health. There she engaged in statewide initiatives in meaningful use, health information exchange, open data and interoperability. She has lectured extensively around the world on a broad range of topics that include social determinants of health, healthcare strategy and market development, access to care, opioid addiction, privacy issues, homelessness and public health preparedness.

The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.