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Introducing the TISTA COVID-19 Tracker App

As part of TISTA’s commitment to the safety and well-being of its associates and the community, the company has developed an application to raise awareness of the intensity of the pandemic within the United States while providing context for understanding individual risk. The application is simple to use and contains a number of useful features for understanding the magnitude of the pandemic at the national and local level.

It is the hope of TISTA’s leadership that TISTA associates and partners will use the app to stay up to date on the pandemic and support associates in harm’s way. The app is just one of many TISTA contributions to associate and public safety during the outbreak.

What is it?

The app, internally called the “CV-19 Dashboard“, is a data visualization tool for staying aware of the pandemic.  The app aligns to the objectives of the TISTA Continuity of Operations (COOP) Committee and COVID-19 Task Force. A progressive web app, it runs in any modern web browser or mobile device and is hosted on one of the company’s AWS cloud environments.

The Special Projects team developed the application in just two weeks in response to a request from TISTA CEO Asif Ahmed to provide a simple solution for viewing local stats, executive orders, and other relevant information that are missing or diluted in other apps. The app uses only open-source technologies, including React, RESTful APIs, and the Postgres DB; as well as open-source data sets from Johns Hopkins University and other respected producers.  The team, following the agile process and using TISTA’s Microsoft Teams tenant for project tracking, just released the 1.0 version, and is close to releasing a 1.1 version that includes a number of other useful features.

The application is intended to be open-sourced and/or made available to TISTA customers and philanthropic partners once it reaches maturity.

What does it do?

The application provides a specific set of high-value features, including pandemic and population statistics, heatmaps for visualizing the intensity of the pandemic within the United States, and the most-important executive orders.   Some of the features, such as national and county-level statistics and heat maps, are general-purpose.  The following graphic shows the main view of the application:

For perspective, the app also provides population data and provides statistics per 100,000 residents.  Associates can use the integrated population data to get a better picture of the actual risk.

Others features, such as a version of the heatmap in version 1.1 that allows TISTA leadership to visualize associates in conjunction with the number of confirmed cases, are organization-specific.

The organization-specific features were developed for TISTA leadership to provide support for associates, but could easily be utilized by any organization simply by uploading that organization’s associate location data.  (Note: The application contains no individualized data; rather, the associate data is limited to zip codes and counts in order to maintain associate privacy.)

All features emphasize simplicity, clarity, legibility, and context.  Statistics are color-coded based on category and intensity.  Future versions will take this concept further, providing at-a-glance comprehension of magnitude and risk factors.

To use the application, associates simply enter a zip code in order to view data for the containing county.  Users can search on their own locations or other locations of interest to them. They can also click on the “USA” in the breadcrumb trail in order to view national data:

Future versions of the application will contain other valuable features related to risk and trends.

What are the benefits?

The COVID-19 awareness app has several benefits:  (1) It is easy to use, (2) it focuses on high-value features and simplicity, (3) it can run on mobile without requiring publishing it to an app store, and TISTA can continue to develop and tailor it to meet the needs of its users.  TISTA associates and partners can request features or volunteer to get involved by emailing me.

How do I get it?

The application is published on https://innovation.tistatech.com and is available for web and mobile.

In closing, we hope that TISTA associates and partners will find the application useful, and that associates will recognize the commitment TISTA leadership places in understanding and supporting associates’ needs.   Stay tuned for other announcements related to significant efforts by the COVID-19 Task Force to improve public safety during these trying times.

Michael Roberts
CIO

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