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SafeGraph Provides CDC and 1000+ Organizations With Data to Fight the COVID-19 Crisis

April 14, 2020
Kate Blumberg

SafeGraph’s COVID-19 Data Consortium enables the CDC, California Governor’s Office, City of Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and many other organizations to address the coronavirus’s impact

At SafeGraph, we’ve always been dedicated to a single mission: to democratize access to clean, accurate, and comprehensive geospatial data on physical places. From the very beginning, we have provided our data for free to the academic community via SafeGraph’s Academic Program. This has enabled researchers to publish papers and uncover insights that will lead  to better policy-making, new innovations, and business growth.

This kind of life-changing research is even more critical in times of crisis.  

So, to play our part in the fight against the COVID-19 health crisis—and its devastating impact on the global economy—we decided to expand our program further, making our foot traffic data free for non-profit organizations and government agencies at the local, state, and federal level. We also created multiple new COVID-19 datasets and dashboards:

SafeGraph’s Shelter-in-Place Index allows you to see how well
social distancing measures are being respected at the state and county levels.

1000+ Organizations Making an Impact

SafeGraph also formed an interdisciplinary consortium of 1000+ organizations to respond to the impending health and economic crisis. The consortium includes the following:

  • City, state, and federal government organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Governor's Office, and the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Antonio, Memphis, and Louisville.
  • Industry-leading researchers in epidemiology, economics, computer science, and GIS from 80+ top-tier academic research institutions, including Johns Hopkins University, Harvard, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford.
  • Non-profit organizations, like the Phipps House, the oldest and largest non-profit developer, owner, and manager of affordable housing in New York City

4 Ways The CDC Is Using SafeGraph Data

The highest levels of the federal government, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are actively tapping into SafeGraph data daily in the following ways: 

  1. To amplify COVID-19 response efforts at the local level by visually analyzing the movement of communities most at risk for ongoing virus transmission
  2. To identify healthcare sites across the United States reaching capacity limits
  3. To better understand where COVID-19 has the potential to spread the most, by analyzing foot traffic to businesses as a means of identifying whether or not social distancing measures are being respected at the neighborhood level
  4. To use location-based insights for the purpose of developing tailored healthcare- and safety-oriented communications that aim to reinforce social distancing and stay-at-home measures within the communities failing to comply with those mandates. 

CDC Research Finds Proof Social Distancing Orders Work Via SafeGraph Data

The CDC also conducted research using SafeGraph’s social distancing data to determine the efficacy of stay-at-home orders. Published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the research zoomed in on NYC, SF, Seattle, and New Orleans and found that mobility decreased in each city every time a new social distancing order was issued. As noted by CNN and the Washington Post, this is the first early ‘proof’ from a major government agency that shows people actually are listening to stay-at-home orders.

Percentage of households staying-at-home in NYC as measured by SafeGraph social distancing data.

City And State Governments Are Using SafeGraph Data 

Access to accurate data has also proven invaluable in helping city officials across the country tailor their response efforts:

"I'm proud L.A. not only stepped up the quickest in the country but also the most extensively. I nervously looked at how many people would do this. I looked at the messaging. I looked at the data, which has guided us this whole time. I looked at cell phone data and apps movement that people got to me. We earned an A, best in the country. We were the biggest reduction of movement of the counties in Southern California and tied for the best in the state, so we did everything we could with the knowledge we had as quickly as we could..."  – Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti

Empowering Researchers to Uncover Powerful New Socio-economic Insights

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States, a number of research papers have already been published that leverage SafeGraph data in a big way and reveal different perspectives on how the novel coronavirus has shaped current society, including: 

A Big Thanks to Our Partners

We couldn’t have created this incredible forum of researchers, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and government bodies without the support of our many partners who enable us to make access to clean, accurate, and comprehensive data possible for everyone. 

To those who made their platforms available for accessing and analyzing data: Snowflake, OmniSci, Nexla, DataRobot, ThinkData Works, CARTO, Kaggle, Domo, Databricks, Acuratio.

To those who made their data and data services available: Facteus, Affinity Solutions, and SmartyStreets.

To those who assisted with outreach, helping us get the consortium in front of more people: InsideView, Muck Rack, Prowly, Power Almanac, GovSearch, Clearbit, and Slack

This is just the beginning. Open access to data allows us to transform the world for the better. We look forward to making a continued impact, changing the course of the COVID-19 crisis on our businesses, in our local communities, and, ultimately, for people all around the world. Thank you again to our partners and special thanks to everyone fighting the good fight.

Get Access to SafeGraph Data Today

Academic researchers, non-profits, and government organizations: join SafeGraph’s COVID-19 Data Consortium to get SafeGraph data at no-cost.

If you are with a for-profit business, please contact our team today to learn how these datasets can help your business. In these uncertain times, we are working flexibly with companies to help them navigate this unfolding health and economic crisis.

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Questions? Get in touch with our team of data experts.