New Delhi: In a bid to “complement” the Aarogya Setu app, a government-endorsed application that helps trace the contacts of those who may have been infected by COVID-19, the Survey of India (SoI), the country’s apex map maker, has made a trove of maps public.
This could improve geospatial data as well as help develop maps that could be customised to a variety of ‘COVID-related applications’ such as healthcare facilities, infection clusters and disaster management, said officials associated with the project.
“The platform is initially expected to strengthen the public health delivery system of the State and Central governments and subsequently provide the necessary geospatial information support to citizens and agencies dealing with the challenges related to health, socio-economic distress, and livelihood challenges,” the department of science and technology, which oversees the SoI, said in a press release.
“The mobile application has been customised to collect COVID-19 specific geospatial datasets through community engagement to augment the response activities by government to the pandemic,” it added.
Officials said that the maps wouldn’t be directly useful to the general public and was aimed at government agencies which require geospatial information. “If a response team needs location specific data on a hotspot that information can be given by Sahyog (the SoI’s mobile application),” Pankaj Mishra, deputy surveyor general (Technical) told The Hindu.
In his address announcing the extension of the lockdown on Tuesday, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi urged Indians to use the Aarogya Setu application and “inspire others to download the app as well”. To be effective, it requires users to keep their device’s Bluetooth and location history ‘on’ as much as possible. Users will be alerted, without disclosing identity, if they are in the vicinity of someone who’s tested positive. It also helps the government trace contacts of those infected to execute quarantining.