Dr. Gaston Mbonglou is a senior executive with a proven track record in business strategy, operations management, and information technology. He is Principal at UASG Advisors and VP of Operations at the Capstone Strategy Group, a company focusing on process improvement and the use of technology to drive organizational efficiency. Prior to joining Capstone Strategy Group, Gaston held multiple management positions at KPMG. Since 2017, Gaston has provided strategic leadership and project oversight for US State Department’s funded projects in Africa and since 2020, he is leading the Africa Hub for geospatial projects. He is co-author of the “Accelerating Business Growth in Emerging Economies framework”, a strategy centered around the capacity building through entrepreneurship programs in emerging economies. Gaston has held the position of Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Maryland University College. He holds a Ph.D. and a Master's Degree in Computer Science from the University of Technology of Dresden, Germany.
Cities’ COVID Mitigation Mapping
The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly spread around the world affecting public health and having cascading impacts on nearly every aspect of human life. Challenges from COVID-19 extend far beyond the illness, to include disruption of the global economy and local socio-economic relationships. The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to challenge vulnerable populations and communities long after the infection numbers peak. Many vulnerable populations around the world are experiencing a new complexity the virus is bringing to existing challenges such as poverty, food insecurity, obstacles to social, economic, and labor mobility, and access to education. Understanding these second-order impacts will help officials as well as civil society organizations mitigate negative effects and strengthen responses to address growing economic, health, and education needs.
The Cities’ COVID Mitigation Mapping program (C2M2) builds on global networks of geospatial experts to analyze second-order impacts of COVID-19. The goal of this program is to increase the capacity to understand the distribution and gaps in resources available to vulnerable populations in urban communities. This program has three regional hubs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where select local organizations, with regional geospatial and community development expertise, identify and work with various local project partners to develop and guide C2M2 projects in each region. C2M2 projects build local capacity to utilize open data and geospatial technologies, strengthen international partnerships, and create new data and analyses to inform data-driven decision making for planning to mitigate COVID-19 second-order impacts. Project partners will focus on key themes: food security, informal economy, tourism, health, and mobility to address second-order impacts of COVID-19.
C2M2 Launch Webinar: Defining the Geospatial Characteristics of COVID-19 Second-Order Impacts
C2M2 Complete Playlist
Click on the video below to launch the full playlist of videos related to MapGive’s Cities COVID Mitigation Mapping program, including lightning talks, panel discussions, and the entire C2M2 Symposium (Jun 22-25, 2021).
The COVID-19 impact on African countries has followed a gradual trend as opposed to the rapid surges occurring elsewhere. Given this context, Africa is an important region to examine and understand how countries have prepared themselves to manage the second order impacts of the pandemic.
The Africa Hub focuses on three cities across the continent: 1) Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo; 2) Nairobi, Kenya; and 3) Pemba, Mozambique. These projects address second order impacts related to access to social services, such as education, water, and health. Additionally, the Africa Hub will promote technical exchanges with partners in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Accra, Ghana, and Conakry, Guinea to share lessons learned and best practices..
Africa Hub Lead: Dr. Gaston Mbonglou, UASG Advisors
List of Partners:
Find out more about ongoing projects in the C2M2 Africa Hub:
Additional C2M2 Africa Hub content:
Asia Hub Lead: Nama Raj Budhathoki, Ph.D, Executive Chairman, Kathmandu Living Labs
Dr. Nama Budhathoki founded and developed Kathmandu Living Labs (KLL) as one of the exemplary institutions working in the areas of OpenStreetMap, open data, and civic technology. Some of the works he led at KLL have been covered in major news outlets, e.g. The New York Times, BBC, MyRepublica, GovInsider, theguardian, Setopati, Nepali Times. At KLL, Nama has been leading the Secondary Cities Project since 2016 and is also guiding the C2M2 Projects in Asia. Before founding KLL, Nama successfully led the World Bank’s Open Cities Project in Nepal in its inception phase. Currently, Nama serves the Open Mapping Hub for the Asia-Pacific region as the inaugural Regional Director where he works closely with OpenStreetMap communities from 25 countries in the region.
Nama earned his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with focus in OpenStreetMap. Following the doctoral degree, he worked at McGill University as a postdoctoral research fellow and then at Niti Foundation as the Director of programs. He has authored over a dozen journal papers and book chapters. His studies and works have been funded mainly by the US government, Canadian government, Dutch Government, and Yahoo! Inc. His co-edited book titled Youth Community Inquiry: New Media for Community and Personal Growth was published in 2014.
Find out more about ongoing projects in the C2M2 Asia Hub:
Latin America Hub
Latin America has experienced critical economic challenges due to the pandemic. The Latin America Hub focuses on the spatial analysis and visualization of the emergent properties of poverty in the form of migration and the collapse of the tourism industry in different cities.
Specifically, projects will be undertaken in Quito, Ecuador; Santiago, Chile; and Lima, Peru to track migration and mobility of vulnerable populations and their access to services and resources. A comparative study will be undertaken to examine the collapse of the tourism industry in Santa Cruz, Galapagos, Ecuador; Cuzco, Peru; and Ouro Preto, Brazil. The hub will incorporate the results of these studies as they create models and other decision making tools for use by stakeholders in the region to mitigate COVID second order impacts.
Latin America Hub Lead: Dr. Carlos F. Mena, Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ)
Dr. Carlos F. Mena is professor of Geography and Ecology at the School of Biological and Environmental Sciences in the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Dr. Mena is co-Director of the Galapagos Science Center and Director of the Institute of Geography at USFQ. Carlos Mena obtained his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in the United States and has worked in the Ecuadorian Amazon for several years for his dissertation research. Mena has won several prestigious academic honors, including the Earth Systems Science Fellowship from the US National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) and a pre-Doctoral Traineeship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fogarty International Center. Currently, Mena develops projects analyzing the interactions between human and environment using GIS, remote sensing, social survey and political ecology in the Western Amazon and in the Galapagos Islands.
List of Partners:
Find out more about ongoing projects in the C2M2 Latin America Hub:
Additional C2M2 Latin America Hub content:
The C2M2 team has collected articles and reports about second order impacts of COVID-19. Click on the categories below to toggle columns on and off:
In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, local experts in cities around the world participated in the Cities’ COVID-19 Mitigation Mapping program to use geospatial science to understand second-order impacts of COVID-19 in order to address them.
In one year, participants succeeded in -
- generating local data through participatory mapping activities and
- centering place-based needs due to second-order impacts to contextualize other data derived due to the pandemic (i.e., the country-specific data dashboards tracking COVID cases, deaths, and spread)
All hubs actively used geospatial tools for data generation, including
- Kobo Toolbox (Africa hub)
- Cities Navigator (Africa hub)
- Microsoft Power BI (Latin America hub)
- QGIS (Asia Hub)
- Common to all projects was the use of ArcGIS, Python, and R to conduct customized analysis and visualizations.
The C2M2 program generated diverse data, including:
Most datasets generated from the C2M2 program are uploaded to publicly available platforms (e.g., OpenStreetMap and Humanitarian Data Exchange - HDX) to promote open data governance.
The program created useful dashboards that deliver important COVID-19 relevant information to citizens and policymakers. Water and sanitation accessibility dashboard (Africa hub) Healthcare accessibility dashboard (Africa and Asia hub), and Crime hot/cold spot information dashboard (Latin America hub).
The program produced effective visualization products (e.g., ArcGIS Story Maps and Videos) that highlight the key findings of the projects and communicate with various stakeholders. These products inform decision-making through providing data at the local level that previously did not exist, analyses of existing data, and newly generated data to track COVID-related impacts.
Important lessons learned include:
- real-time crime spatiotemporal data
- Identification and collection of new georeferenced data at the sub-city scale (i.e., city districts or neighborhoods). Many of the city projects collected data that had never before been collected, providing new insights for city planning and decision making (i.e., locations of all types of healthcare facilities such as clinics, hospitals, pharmacies)
- The use of geospatial tools, common methods, and standardized data structure (i.e., attributes, units, categories) enable robust analyses across thematic issues. C2M2 projects examined different second-order impacts using common geospatial approaches.
- Existing data could be enhanced by collecting additional attribute information. For example, characteristics of water points (i.e., private/public, hours of operation) and toilets (i.e., handwashing facilities at location) provided additional information relevant to government policies to manage the pandemic.
- Demonstrating the integration of different methods. Projects used mobile tools to conduct surveys with sample populations with georeferenced locations.
- Protection of personal information and informed consent. Ethics underpin surveys and georeferenced data collection. Georeferenced data reveal sensitive information regarding location and people. Protection of personal information is necessary for data generation and sharing. Ensuring participants understood informed consent while protecting anonymity was essential to all projects.
- Analysis and visualization of geospatial data for decision making. Data can provide the locational analysis to identify place-based solutions (i.e., density analysis of point data to yield “heat maps” of sensitive areas). However, stakeholders and decision-makers need to be aware of the utility of a geospatial approach. Visualizations (data dashboards) and storytelling (Esri Story Maps) are means to demonstrate data results.