The Gates Foundation using GPS as a Key Tool in Fight Against Polio

 

Another in a series of posts about some of the good things coming from our industry, which benefit society and our world as a whole.   Recently Bill Gates of Microsoft made the rounds of Morning Talk Shows, highlighting some of the exciting work being done by the Gates Foundation – particularly in the area of the fight against Polio, which has never been eradicated in three countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria.

It’s no surprise that a charitable organization driven by Bill Gates would use technology as a key component in its arsenal. But as a company with “Geo” in our name, it was especially rewarding for us to see how the Foundation is using Geo-spatial imaging from Satellites. These images are used to identify previously unknown or un-mapped villages in Nigeria, so that Polio vaccines can reach a greater percentage of rural and remote populations.     According to a letter from the Gates Foundation, quoted in an article in Geospatial World, “One huge problem the polio program found was that many small settlements in the region were missing from vaccinators’ hand-drawn maps and lists documenting the location of villages and numbers of children. As a result, children weren’t getting vaccinated.”    

What’s equally interesting is how GPS tracking technology is also employed in this initiative for “service verification”. Once new target villages are identified with satellite imagery, the Foundation is using GPS enabled devices to produce breadcrumb type tracks which confirm that vaccines are – in fact – reaching their desired destination.   At Geoforce, we find that fascinating – since it closely parallels techniques we have used in our latest upgrade to our Fleet Tracking solution. Many of our customers in the Oil & Gas industry have asked that we enhance the ability to confirm that service vehicles like Water Trucks, Pumping Trucks, and other service vehicles are reaching all scheduled drilling and production sites.   So – whether it’s the fight to eliminate polio – or just serving our everyday customers, GPS tracking is helping organizations verify that intended service visits really did happen.