Mizzou Engineers, Physicians to Help Rural Missouri Plan Ahead for Pandemic: Geospatial Big Data is Key

June 22, 2020
Map showing distances people in Missouri must drive to major hospitals
Former NGA Director Robert Sharp (at left), who joined UMSL Chancellor Kristin Sobolik in signing an Educational Partnership Agreement between UMSL and NGA last year, is joining the UMSL Geospatial Collaborative as a research fellow and will help guide efforts to lead collaborative K-16 workforce and talent development. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Daues/NGA)


Planning ahead for a pandemic—or any disaster situation—is costly and complex. Now, Mizzou researchers are hoping to take the guesswork out of it for Missouri’s smaller communities.

The catalyst for the research is COVID-19. In spite of a months-long statewide shutdown, much of rural Missouri remains vulnerable to a second wave of the virus. The project will involve collecting large amounts of geospatial data—or data based on location—then analyzing that data to predict outcomes. Those prediction models will help local leaders make informed decisions if the pandemic worsens in their communities.