CU Boulder researcher Daniel Larremore and several colleagues from Colorado joined a nationwide study that seeks to use social media data to better understand how coronavirus cases might grow and travel in the coming weeks.
The COVID-19 Mobility Data Network will draw on huge volumes of anonymized location information supplied by Facebook to follow how groups of people move from spot to spot over time. That will allow researchers like Larremore, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and in the BioFrontiers Institute, to build maps that show where people are still traveling in the age of social distancing.
It’s totally anonymous and designed with privacy as a top priority, he said. “You can’t tell anything about individual mobility since Facebook gives us only anonymized and aggregated data,” said Larremore. “But we will be able to see, for example, how many people went from Jefferson County to Boulder County last week and compare it to how many people made the same trip several weeks ago.”
He and his colleagues will soon provide these maps to local public health leaders on a daily basis so that they can craft more efficient policies around how to slow the spread of the virus. Read More.