Esri Education Manager, Joseph Kerski, recently shared the following:

Here is a memorial to honor those lost to COVID-19 that GIS is playing a big role in that my colleague Jeremiah Lindemann told me about. This week 650,000 flags were planted on the National Mall in DC to represent those lost to the pandemic. Folks that have lost someone can dedicate a flag with a personalized message on the website. Volunteers then create the flags and use ArcGIS Survey123 to locate and take a picture of the flags with a notification sent to the family. You can see the flags and messages here:

If you have lost someone to the pandemic, below the map is a Survey123 form where you can dedicate a flag. The exhibit lasts until Oct 3rd, and submissions for flags are accepted until Sept 30.

In addition, people that fill out the form can optionally add a picture, and their loved ones will appear on the COVID Lost Loved Ones map. Zoom around and click on some of the pictures to see the personalized stories of those lost- well over 1,000 now.

This exhibit is important to so many families that have provided emotional gratitude for this work. Many of them didn’t have proper funerals and have a chance to grieve, and many are traveling out to DC to help honor their loved ones for this exhibit, or have expressed thanks for this recognition. Longer-term, this data will be stored digitally by the Smithsonian.

Lots of volunteers stepped in to run this, most of the on-site volunteer work and initial website done by George Washington University Anthropology dept and some assistance from some Esri folks and the health & human services team and GISCorps.

One of many press articles from the launch:

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Once again, a reminder, of how GIS can help us connect with what we have and … what we have lost.

Joseph Kerski

Joseph J. Kerski, Ph.D., GISP | Education Manager

Esri | 167 S. Taylor Avenue | Louisville CO 80027-3025 | USA

T 909-369-8237 | M 303 625 3925 |