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  • Maria Chara Karypidou

Mosquito hunting assisted by Earth Observation data

The interest in the use of Earth Observation (EO) data is increasing rapidly [1] for a plethora of applications, ranging from rainfall estimation [2] to observing population movement [3]. EO techniques can deliver high resolution data for a wide range of environmental parameters related to weather and climate [4], the state of the ocean [5], biodiversity and ecosystem mapping [1]. The assemblage of this information, its proper processing through data mining algorithms and the investigation of possible interconnections between environmental variables themselves by means of spatial analysis, can potentially yield new information related to risk management, planning, change detection and monitoring and data-driven decision making.

One of the applications that is keen on using EO data, in order to educate its modeling process is the sector of vector control. Vectors (mosquitoes, ticks etc.) function as transmitters of vector-borne diseases (malaria, dengue, west-nile virus etc.), posing a great threat on human health and well-being. The use of EO data assisted by the collection of georeferenced data by individuals [6], can potentially provide information on the suitability of certain locations for vector occurrence and reproduction, and thus, relate this suitability to the probability that the disease in concern related to a particular vector may occur.

Such an effort is initiated by NASA [7] in the context of its GLOBE observer project [8], which utilizes an app [9] that collects occurrence data from users. ESA [10] has also been active in the area of mosquito control, by providing EO data related to mosquito habitat suitability to the VECMAP [11] project, which also assesses the habitat suitability for vectors and disease occurrence.

The fact that EO data can be delivered on demand, and also their high spatial resolution, along with the fact that their specificity is enlarged and their accessibility is increased [1], renders them ideal for operational applications of vector control.

[10] ESA


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