Project AEDES, a dengue case predictor mapping system developed by a multi-university Philippine team, won in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Apps Challenge global hackathon.
Project Advanced Early Detection-Prediction and Exploration Service (AEDES) was announced in a Philippine media briefing on March 4, 2020, as having won the Best Use of Data award, one of the top six awards of the 2019 NASA global hackathon.
NASA cites Project AEDES as “The solution that best makes space data accessible, or leverages it to a unique application.”
With 271,480 dengue cases resulting in 1,107 deaths as reported from January 1 to August 31, 2019 by the World Health Organization, the Aedes Project team composed of Dominic Vincent D. Ligot, Mark Toledo, Frances Claire Tayco, and Jansen Dumaliang Lopez developed a forecasting model of dengue cases using climate and digital data and pinpointing possible hotspots from satellite data.
Correlating information from Sentinel-2 Copernicus and Landsat 8 satellites, DOST-PAGASA for climate, and trends from search engines, potential dengue hotspots will be displayed in a web interface. Indices like Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (FAPAR) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) are used in identifying areas with green vegetation while Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) to identify areas with water. Combining these indices reveal potential areas of stagnant water capable of being breeding grounds of mosquitoes.
“It benefits the community especially those countries suffering from malaria and dengue, just like the Philippines. I think it has a global impact. This is the new science to know the potential areas where dengue might occur. It is a good app,” said Engr. Raul C. Sabularse, deputy executive director of DOST-PCIEERD.
“It is very relevant to the Philippines and other countries which usually having problems with dengue. The team was able to show that it’s not really difficult to have all the data you need and integrate all of them and make them accessible to everyone for them to be able to use it. It’s a working model. It is something can actually be made usable in a short span of six months,” Ibrahim said.
We were already feeling fortunate to have made the local cut but the global win is blowing our minds. We feel that the NASA recognition is a validation that our mission is a worthy one and can really help make an impact on public health and reducing deaths from dengue and other mosquito-borne disesases. It’s also a further validation that my shift to social impact has promise and is encouraging me to pursue ways to leverage data and technology to help society and bring international recognition to the Philippines.