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Using GIS and remote sensing in health & humanitarian programs

Io Blair-Freese


This presentation will cover programs funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which use spatial analytics and machine learning for targeted impact. It will dive into how maps and analytics translate into action in difficult operational settings, and how private sector partnerships are improving how humanitarian work is done. No prior understanding of GIS or remote sensing data analytics are required to engage with this material.


Io Blair-Freese is a Program Officer and the Insights team lead on geospatial data and analytics within the Global Delivery Program (GDP) at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Prior to GDP, Io developed the centralized geospatial support unit for the Global Development Strategy, Data & Analytics (GD SDA) team. Io uses her background as a web developer and computer programmer to translate between problems stemming from different stakeholder needs and the technical solutions to address them. She started at the Foundation in 2013 and has held many roles including GIS Analyst on the Polio Eradication team during the effort to eliminate Polio in Northern Nigeria. At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Io has also served on the leadership team of two initiatives in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): Latinos in Philanthropy and now the Disabilities Advocacy Group.

Io received her Technology Management MBA from the University of Washington and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Western Washington University. She is a Girl Scout troop leader and has been volunteering with the same troop since 2013. In her free time, Io also co-hosts an Ethics reading group and participates in competitive tabletop board gaming.

Io Blair-Freese Headshot
Io Blair-Freese
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Virtual Zoom Lecture
19 Oct 2021, 10:30am until 11:30am