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Greg.Livadas@rit.edu (Greg Livadas)
Monday, April 13, 2020 - 7:28pm

A former president of Rochester Institute of Technology’s Student Government has created a website template that helps communities track and manage the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Nick Giordano, who graduated from RIT in 2016 with a degree in management information systems, now lives in Redlands, Calif. He works as practice lead for community engagement for professional services at Esri, a company that specializes in geographic mapping software and spatial analytics technology.

Normally the company’s platform, ArcGIS, is used for mapping, data analysis and creating web applications for organizational initiatives and workflows. That includes data collection executive awareness or creating apps to communicate information to the public, such as sites that display project information and collect feedback on government projects, or sites to help find volunteers for events in the community.

“We’ve really pivoted toward the coronavirus response in the last few weeks, obviously,” he said.

The ArcGIS Hub site template is designed to be deployed quickly to get information out to the community, from displaying locations of testing sites to communicating results of advanced analysis, such as predictive modeling and maps. Hundreds of governments are using the template, including city-level governments and federal governments and organizations, he said.

“It’s been really great to see how many people have been using it locally and around the world,” Giordano said.

Esri has offered the template free for the users of their ArcGIS online platform and is offering all public health agencies and organizations responding to the coronavirus outbreak a complementary six-month ArcGIS online subscription that can also be used for Esri’s other coronavirus response solutions.

The company is accustomed to working with communities experiencing natural disasters, but Giordano said the scale of this crisis “is really unprecedented. Usually there’s a wildfire here or a hurricane there. It’s pretty unusual to have a disaster that impacts the entire country and world at the same time.”

He said he’s ecstatic the template has been so well-received and that he can do his part to help others.

“I’ve always been interested helping in community engagement and getting the word out for important issues such as this,” he said.

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