The coronavirus crisis endangers the health and economic existence of many people. Initiatives are therefore being launched worldwide that want to use the opportunities offered by digitization to effectively battle the outbreak crisis. Together with the initiator Mathias Reidel and his team, Open as App is participating in this effort and provides the COVID-19-Radar on a 100% non-profit basis.

Many people hope for a relaxation of contact restrictions. Therefore, new solutions are now being sought that on the one hand particularly protect the risk groups, but on the other hand, they also enable a relatively normal economic life again step by step. How to proceed can only be decided based on careful consideration. But this requires a comprehensive data basis.

Table of Content

  1. Using the advantages of digitalization
  2. More data for viable decisions
  3. The Idea behind the COVID-19-Radar
  4. The COVID-19-Radar – How to use it?
  5. Important questions about the app

Using the advantages of digitalization:

The COVID-19 app is one of several digital initiatives: All over the world, people are trying to gain new knowledge about the coronavirus and its distribution by voluntarily submitting data to the public. Anyone can participate. Everyone is asked. There are already apps in use that show the worldwide spread. In some other countries, citizens can use apps to self-assess their symptoms or automatically inform each other when they have been in contact with people who tested positive for COVID-19 a short time later. Other apps show distribution hotspots on a country level. With these apps, the urgency of the measures can be made clear. However, they do not help in deciding which supermarket is the best place to go when shopping.

More data for viable decisions:

In Germany, as in many other countries, the measurement to date has only been carried out at the level of federal states or administrative districts(link in German). This is far too rough to derive viable individual relaxation of protective measures or to assess the actual personal risk. No mayor knows how the corona cases are distributed in their city. This is where the COVID-19-Radar app comes in: We want to illuminate the immediate area, highlighting Corona hotspots in our neighbourhood.

With the help of the app, users can enter their state of health on a map in the form of traffic light colors and view the collected entries in their surroundings as a heat map. Also, the map shows the aggregated infection figures drawn from the Robert Koch Institute and the health authorities. The report is voluntary. Although the more people participate, the better.

Digital applications meet with a high degree of willingness to help in Germany (link in German): According to a survey by the data protection service Usercentrics, just under 70 % of those surveyed in Germany would disclose personal data to protect themselves and others.

It is important to note that the data collection by the COVID-19 app should not call the current measures into question. It wants to provide valuable information to make local risk scenarios clear to everyone and to offer new, smart exit scenarios from the lockdown.

The Idea behind the COVID-19-Radar

  1. Voluntary reporting via the app: Users voluntarily report their status using the COVID-19-Radar app: The traffic light color, location (latitude/longitude), time of transmission, and the device-related installation ID are transmitted.
  2. Anonymous evaluation of the data: The data visualization is based on geolocation data and is not broken down to individual people or
  3. Overview: A heatmap shows locally and in real-time secure areas and hotspots. (This can be accessed via the “globe icon” in the app.)
COVID-19 App Screenshots-2
COVID-19 App Screenshots-2

* The above-pictured data is based on tests data only

The more people participate, the better the data basis for decisions – on personal as well as on a national level. So, share this app with your family, friends, and colleagues. You can do this via a link on social media, by email or directly from the app’s menu.

Get through these difficult times and stay healthy! We hope that the COVID-19-Radar app will help everyone.

The COVID-19-Radar – How to use it?

You can install the app by using this link, or simply by scanning the QR Code with your phone. In case Open as App is not installed on your device yet, you will take a small detour via the Appstore – don’t worry, we’ll guide you through the process so that you end up where you wanted to go – namely the COVID-19-Radar App.

COVID-19-Radar app Screenshot

Open the app and start with

  1. To provide your status message on Coronavirus or COVID-19, click on:
    1. Green: for tested as “negative”, untested, no symptoms
    2. Yellow: for untested, but with symptoms; not tested, but having a case in the household
    3. Red: for tested “positive”.
  1. Inform yourself about the privacy policy and release your data.
  2. Submit your status. Done.
  3. Click on the world map icon in the app to view the heat map of your neighbourhood or other places.
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Important questions about the app

How often can I change my status?

The app counts the status message only once a day. Even if you accidentally report more than once, your status will only be counted once. If your status has changed, you can enter a new message. The new status will then be noted in the heatmap of your quarter.

Can I view my status in the app?

As your status is not stored in the app, you cannot view it via the app. The app is only used to transmit your status message. There is also no possibility to view an individual status in the Heat Map.

What happens with the transmitted data?

With the help of the app, the user transmits his health status in the form of traffic light colors. The collected entries are displayed as a heatmap. In addition, the map shows the aggregated infection figures of the Robert Koch Institute and the health authorities. The report is strictly voluntary. Though the more people participate, the better.

The COVID-19-Radar stores the traffic light color, location (longitude/latitude), transmission time, the device-related installation ID. The hosting providers store the IP address to enable their services. Only you know which status you have entered. The data is transferred to a secure database for evaluation and for the creation of the heatmap. The results are available to all users and research institutes.

The location cannot be traced back to a single residential building. There is no continuous tracking of the user, the location data is only transmitted if the user explicitly transmits his “traffic light status”.

Who created the 100% non-profit COVID-19-Radar?

The Coronavirus app was created using the no-code platform Open as App and it is a 100% non-profit effort. The idea of Open as App is to democratize the development of apps and thus make digitalization accessible and faster for everyone. With this platform, every user as a so-called Citizen Developer can create apps immediately and without programming knowledge. The apps are based on existing data from Excel, Google Sheets, or databases. Open as App is hosted in the Microsoft Azure Europe Cloud. The use is free of charge. More information is available at www.openasapp.com.

The COVID-19-Radar App was developed as a joint initiative of initiator Mathias Reidel, former Microsoft colleagues (Peter Yves Ruland, Eva Kitir, Eveline Hailer, Olaf Köstner), Philipp Rüdiger (PhD of Neuroinformatics) as Open Source Lead Developer for the visualization of the “heatmaps” and technology and the Open as App team (Ralf Hertneck, Tobias Konsek, Andre Freitag, Damian Biecuszek). 

Which technologies were used?

For the creation of the app, we have used secure Microsoft technologies. These include Azure SQL Server, Azure Data Bricks, Azure Blob Storage, Open Street View, and various COVID-19 data sources.

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