Introduction: Geospatial temporal data derived from smartphones traditionally used for purposes of navigation may offer valuable information for public health surveillance and locational hot spotting. Our objective was to develop a web-based application, called Covidseeker, that captures continuous fine-grained geospatial temporal data from smartphones and leverages these data to study transmission patterns of COVID-19.
Methods: This report describes the development of Covidseeker and the process by which it utilizes geospatial temporal data from smartphones and processes it into a usable format to study geospatial temporal patterns of COVID-19. We provide an overview of the design process, the principles, the software architecture, and the dashboard of the Covidseeker application and consider key challenges and strategic uses of capturing geospatial temporal data and the potential for future applications in outbreak surveillance.
Results: A resource such as Covidseeker can support situational awareness by providing information about the location and timing of transmission of diseases such as COVID-19. Geospatial temporal data housed in smartphones hold tremendous potential to capture more depth about where and when transmission occurs and the patterns of human mobility that lead to increases in risk of COVID-19.
Conclusion: An enormous and highly rich source of geospatial temporal information about human mobility can be used to provide highly localized discrete information that is difficult to capture by traditional sources. The architecture of Covidseeker can be applied to help track COVID-19 and should be integrated with traditional disease surveillance practices.
Keywords: COVID-19; contact tracing; coronavirus; digital applications; geospatial tracking; human mobility; public surveillance.