While many of us will be coping with the frustrations and irritations of the lockdown, it is heartening to hear how geospatial organisations are lending a helping hand.
Information is key to understanding the global spread of the coronavirus, and here, Google, Hexagon, Esri, OmniSci, Geollect and HERE, among others, have developed geospatial dashboards and hubs for their websites that track progress of the virus in near real-time. Many companies are extending special offers to customers now working from home, e.g. Bentley Systems has made its cloud-based ProjectWise 365 collaboration platform available to everyone and waiving subscription fees until September.
In the UK, Europa Technologies, has released free products, data and services to any organisation engaged in the relief effort, while Landmark Information has extended a free re-ordering service to property conveyancers for its RiskView Residential environmental reports. Not to be outdone, Geomni UK has made its building and land-use data freely available to any government, health, emergency service or research organisation dealing with the COVID-19 response.
Conscious that, for many, home schooling is now the norm, Ordnance Survey and Edina University of Edinburgh have made the Digimap for Schools mapping tool (linked to the national curriculum) freely accessible at home to all pupils. OS has also rebranded its successful GetOutside content hub as GetOutside Inside and worked with the Outdoor Industries Association to offer a variety of content to keep everyone physically active. And for those seeking words of encouragement, KOREC Group has launched a series of ‘Pep Talks’ on YouTube, each of which features an inspirational or motivational speaker.
The words of Esri’s Jack Dangermond will be echoed by many when he says, “It is my belief that the GIS work many of you are accomplishing will address a myriad of the challenges we are facing and help bring an end to this global crisis. Our community is already making a measurable difference in this fight, and knowing this is clearly uplifting to me—I hope that it inspires you as well.” Amen to that.