Written By Deborah Bennett, GIS Specialist
What Role Can GIS Technology Play in Effective Mosquito Control?
A keystone of the Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) approach is managing data. GIS data can be analyzed and presented in a visual manner that many find easier to understand. The greatest resource that is provided as a result of GIS technology is a map! Maps are a beautiful way to highlight data. The visual aids combine findings and give it context that is customized for a specific audience. Additionally, customers can be provided with activity reports on a regular basis depending on their needs. As part of an IMM program GIS technology can help:
Track Larval Habitats and Larval Control Applications
Field technicians can use GPS coordinates to collect data related to larval habitats and larvicide applications. Data can include marking a location that was visited, noting if a location had larval activity, or tracking how much product was applied to a given area.
Process Surveillance and Disease Monitoring Data
Using GIS can provide a clear idea of what is happening in the mosquito populations in any given area. First, trap locations can be recorded and added to a database. Next, mosquito counts and species identified can be populated for each location. Then, disease testing can be inputted for each trap and mapped on an ongoing basis. Additionally, service requests can be logged and mapped to help identify problem areas.
Determine Adulticide Application and Treatment Exclusion Areas
By tracking the mosquito populations, managers can make educated decisions on whether control measures are needed as well as when and where to make adulticide applications. The data allows mosquito control technicians to set parameters and load a base map for each mosquito application mission. During a ground mission, a technician’s truck has a GPS controlled variable flow Ultra-Low Volume (ULV) sprayer and a PC within the cab that displays a moving map and mission database to record the GIS data. All aspects of adulticide applications (ground or aerial) can be recorded including but not limited to time and date of application, the application rate, the product utilized, the amount of product applied, and the specific route with notes on exclusion areas.
In addition to the practical applications, in the day to day operations of an IMM program, GIS can assist in:
To maintain individual and corporate compliance and licensing with multiple government agencies and jurisdictions is a daunting task. By accurately recording and mapping all aspects of a program, maps can be used to assure regulatory compliance and streamline requirements for initiatives like NPDES permitting.
When ULV application equipment is coupled with GPS tracking units and on-board GIS monitoring systems, accurate chemical use is recorded. This allows program managers to know exactly how much adulticide is being used during every spray mission, which in turn provides them with the data they need to manage their product inventory efficiently. In larvicide applications, GIS data provides accurate area measurements so technicians know how much product to apply at any given site and managers know how much product they need to have on hand to treat all the sites in their program.
By mapping public health risks, associated with disease monitoring in mosquito populations, GIS can support a community’s efforts to communicate if there is a mosquito-borne disease concern in a given area.
Federal, state, and local governments use GIS to aid in emergency response efforts. GIS has played an integral role in controlling mosquito outbreaks after tropical storms, hurricanes, and intense flooding.
GIS can be utilized in every facet of an integrated mosquito management program. With ongoing advances in technology, the possibilities of GIS improving the efforts to protect public health from mosquito-borne diseases are endless.
VDCI is committed to public education and spreading awareness throughout the U.S. about the dangers of mosquito-borne diseases and their preventability, with the overarching goal of reducing illness and fatality statistics. Our dedicated and experienced team works tirelessly to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases in all of the contracts we service.
If you would like more information about any aspect of an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program, including surveillance, disease testing, larval control or adult control, please contact Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) at 800.413.4445. We will help provide you with details to begin a meaningful program to protect public health in your community.
Deborah Bennett is the GIS Specialist for Vector Disease Control International (VDCI). Deborah earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry from Eastern New Mexico University and her CPGIS from The Pennsylvania State University. Deborah joined VDCI in 2003 and handles GIS data from ground and aerial contracts in 16 states. Her emergency response work includes more than 10 hurricanes and tropical storms, and numerous West Nile virus outbreaks. Deborah is proficient in ESRI’s ArcGIS, SatLoc, SkyTracker/Wingman, and AGNAV mapping programs. She is also an active member of the Northwest Mosquito and Vector Control Association. She can be reached through the VDCI website or by calling 800.413.4445.
Since 1992, Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) has taken pride in providing municipalities, mosquito abatement districts, military bases, industrial sites, planned communities, homeowners associations, and golf courses with the tools they need to run effective Integrated Tick and Mosquito Management programs. We are determined to protect the public health of the communities in which we operate. Our tick and mosquito management professionals have over 100 years of combined experience in the field of public health, specifically vector disease control. We strive to provide the most effective and scientifically sound mosquito surveillance and control programs possible based on an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) approach recommended by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). VDCI is the only company in the country that can manage all aspects of an Integrated Tick and Mosquito Management program, from surveillance to disease testing to aerial applications in emergency response situations.