Blog home

Stopping COVID-19 with New Social Distancing Dataset

April 1, 2020

SafeGraph datasets can help us understand and respond to the novel coronavirus

It’s important to reiterate that the team at SafeGraph takes the COVID-19 crisis seriously. 

Since its spread began to intensify in the United States, we’ve made it our mission to think up new ways our geospatial datasets can  help businesses, researchers, government organizations, and communities understand, address, and overcome this global pandemic. In fact, over 400 organizations—from city governments, like the City of Los Angeles, and leading research institutions, like Harvard and MIT—have joined the SafeGraph COVID-19 Data Consortium and already put SafeGraph datasets to work to fight the economic and humanitarian crisis unfolding.

Today’s launch of the SafeGraph Social Distancing Metrics dataset provides yet another powerful way for communities to inform how they allocate and deploy resources to combat the virus effectively and intelligently.

Introducing SafeGraph’s Social Distancing Metrics 

Over the last few weeks, we have been feverishly innovating how data can be used to help the world overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we’re excited to share our latest dataset release: SafeGraph Social Distancing Metrics.        

This new dataset showcases which Census Block Groups (i.e. neighborhoods composed of roughly 1,500 households) across the U.S. are following mandated social distancing measures, based on analyzing GPS location data from a large panel of anonymized mobile devices.

The reduction in residents leaving their home daily for California, between week of Feb 10th and week of March 24th.

More specifically, we are looking at each neighborhood, and reporting how many people travel outside of their homes, how many hours they are spending at home on average, and, finally, how many hours they are spending at work on average. By assessing where devices reside during daytime and nighttime hours over the course of a six-week period, we are able to infer home vs. work locations to power this analysis. 

It is important to note that we take privacy very seriously. In aggregating this data, we employed differential privacy and anonymization protocols to protect and ensure user privacy at all times. We report our insights only at the Census Block Group level.

This data will be invaluable for helping researchers, non-profits, and government organizations establish where social distancing is happening—as well as where it’s not. More specifically, for the neighborhoods where social distancing measures are not being respected, this data will provide local communities and health departments with a clear line of sight into where they must deploy additional resources to encourage adherence to these life-saving measures. 

This data is free to academics, researchers, and government organizations. Contact us today to gain access to this data and join the SafeGraph COVID-19 Data Consortium if you fall into any of these categories.

More ways to understand COVID-19’s impact with SafeGraph data 

We’ve also looked to SafeGraph foot-traffic and Points of Interest (POI) data to help us better understand and contextualize how the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted daily life for millions of Americans and negatively impacted the U.S. economy in seemingly unthinkable ways. 

To monitor these trends in real-time, we’ve recently created and released powerful new datasets and dashboards to shed light on COVID-19’s ongoing impact.

COVID-19 Consumer Activity Foot Traffic Dashboards 

This powerful dashboard provides eye-opening foot traffic trends on commercial activity across a number of key industries, business sectors, and U.S. regions over the last few months (compared to the same period last year). 

In fact, these dashboards were used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to demonstrate that social distancing and business shutdown measures were, in fact, being followed in many cities across the U.S. 

We update these dashboards daily to catch the emergence of new trends as they arise.

U.S. Consumer Activity During COVID-19 Pandemic Dashboard

Weekly Foot Traffic Patterns 

Because the COVID-19 crisis is rapidly changing the business environment more and more each day, as of last week, we’ve temporarily decided to update the SafeGraph Patterns dataset on a weekly (vs. monthly) basis. It features the same clean, accurate, and comprehensive foot traffic and visitor insights data for over five million POI across the U.S. that you already love—and is already being used as a source of truth by the City of Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins University, the Brookings Institute, MIT, Harvard, and Georgia Tech.

By updating this dataset weekly, we’re now in a stronger position to give businesses, researchers, analysts, and government organizations a leg up in shifting, evolving, and adapting their responses and solutions to this crisis more effectively.

This is just the beginning 

We will continue to provide new information and data that will empower our national, state, and local communities—and even the world at large—to combat COVID-19. We are dedicated to being a part of this fight and know that open access to data-driven knowledge is the key to overcoming the disastrous and ongoing impact of this global pandemic on daily life, human well-being, and the global economy. 

We hope you will join us in this fight.

Get access to these COVID-19 datasets today

Academic researchers, non-profits, and government organizations: We are donating SafeGraph data for free to help you develop new strategies and solutions in the fight against COVID-19.

We’re already working with 400+ academic researchers, governments, and nonprofits in SafeGraph COVID-19 Data Consortium. If you do research on behalf of the public good—or if you’re already a participant in our COVID-19 Tactical Response Slack group—please contact us at [email protected] to get free access to SafeGraph data today. 

If you are with a for-profit business, please contact our team today to learn how these datasets can help your business navigate this unfolding health and economic crisis. We are working flexibly with businesses in these tough times

Browse the latest

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