OpenDRI brings the philosophies and practices of the global open data movement to the challenges of reducing vulnerability and building resilience to natural hazards and the impacts of climate change across the globe.


The Open Data for Resilience Index (beta version): tracking data availability at the country level for disaster risk management

The OpenDRI team is pleased to introduce you to the Open Data for Resilience Index, a free online tool to identify, assess and compare – for any location – the availability of key datasets for disaster risk management. The Index aims to advance the state of open data for disaster and climate risk management around the world, providing a better picture of what is available as open data, but also identifying essential data that is not yet available. Our team at GFDRR’s Open Data for Resilience Initiative uses this information at the outset of any project to identify what information already exists, where information gaps exist, and how to prioritize data collection and sharing, as well as, to track progress and impacts of project activities. Information available on the website is collected and updated by national and international institutions, risk modellers, and other users of risk information around the world, and reviewed by a team of experts. The result is a crowdsourced database that can be used in many ways for disaster risk management projects. This initiative is a joint effort led by the Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI) from GFDRR at the World Bank, in partnership with CIMA Foundation, Global Earthquake Model and Deltares. Are you involved with specific projects or missions where a better view of essential risk data would make a difference? Have you recently conducted a risk data inventory or risk assessment for a country? The website is still in beta version, so your contribution and feedback as early users will help make it better. Explore the state of open data for a given location, filter by data category or hazard and view details for each dataset. The aim is to gradually roll out the website to new users before an official launch later this year. During this beta phase, the OpenDRI team welcome contributions, feedback, and ideas on the following elements: Contribute to the content of website itself by submitting information on key datasets for a given country or hazard; Ideas and feedback on the general approach of this initiative and how to ensure its sustainability; Feedback on the list of key datasets required and how they are defined. In total, there are 36 datasets per location (only country-level, for now) covering the following categories: Base data, Hazard, Exposure, Vulnerability, Risk and Hazards. Hazards covered are: Coastal flooding, Cyclone, Earthquake, Landslide, River flooding, Tsunami, Volcano, Water scarcity. Overall user experience with the website, bugs, and missing features Users are invited to provide feedback using this form, or email Pierre Chrzanowski,

Launch of the Design for Impact Framework: Integrating Open Data and Risk Communication for Decision-Making  

GFDRR’s Open Data for Resilience Initiative, in partnership with Resurgence and Vizonomy, have launched a new report, Design for Impact Framework: Integrating Open Data and Risk Communication for Decision-Making. The framework and publication provide a new organizational resource for project designers working to ensure risk data and information is developed, maintained, and communicated in ways that will have real impact on building resilience to natural hazards and the impacts of climate change. The publication aims to provide project designers with a framework to guide them in developing projects that have a tight handshake between the development of open risk data and real world decision-making. The publication is based on 7 years of experience of the Open Data for Resilience Initiative, alongside a survey of over 20 case studies of successful projects  of risk information academic research and The core Framework consists  of: 10 Guiding Principles to guide all risk information projects A Decision-Making Context Scoping Tool to help understand key local elements of a project A Tactics Selection Tool to help match these contextual elements to appropriate project tactics to deliver impact The publication features over 20 case studies that exemplify the application of the principles and tactics of the Framework. It also contains a detailed deployment scenario that guides project designers in using the Framework to support the extreme weather preparedness of city planners and communities in a coastal city. This publication presents a first foundational iteration of the Framework. OpenDRI anticipates further refinement and customization of it following feedback from the Understanding Risk and OpenDRI communities. We’d love to hear from you! Download the publication here: Please send your feedback or questions to:

OpenDRI at UR2018

The OpenDRI team is headed to the 2018 Understanding Risk Forum in Mexico City!  We’re looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues in the community, and the schedule is overflowing with exciting sessions and side events. Issues related to open risk data, civic technology, citizen science, and risk communication are central to many of the sessions. We will also start exploring on how new technologies such as computer vision and machine learning can augment these approaches and initiatives. We’re excited to see these concerns being given such prominence in the Understanding Risk community. At this event, the team is launching several publications, moderating and speaking on panels, and facilitating several serious games. Have a look at some of the highlights below. See you in Mexico City! Monday May 14 1:00pm – 6:00pm: Learning through Serious Gaming: Open geospatial technologies for disaster management practitioners (InaSAFE): 2:00pm – 4:00pm: OpenStreetMap Data for Resilience & Mapathon; Development Seed, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, GFDRR Tuesday May 15 9:00am – 1:00pm: Post Disaster Needs Assessment and Disaster Recovery Framework (PDNA/DRF) and Simulation Exercise 9:00am – 1:00pm:  Discussions on DRR Tools and the Exchange of Hazard, Exposure and Vulnerability Data 2:00 – 6:00 – Design and risk communication for impact – Roadtesting the new GFDRR Framework and tools for the effective use of open risk data Check out the Design for Impact report behind the session. Friday, May 18 11:15 – 12:45 – The Risk Information Value Chain: Data, Science, Narrative And Action 14:30 – 16:00 – Computer Vision and Machine Learning: From Cat Pictures to CAT Modelling

A Drone’s Eye View: UAV applications for a resilient Seychelles

By Darragh Coward, World Bank Communications Consultant, and Brenden Jongman, World Bank Disaster Risk Management Specialist In the Seychelles, life straddles the coastline. Driving along the country’s main roads, which run parallel to the turquoise outline of Mahé Island, it is impossible not to recognize this. Fishermen take to the sandy sidewalks with their morning hauls, children flood crosswalks to access their seaside schoolyards, and people queue patiently for public transport into the bustling capital, Victoria, which stands only one meter above sea level. This might be characteristic of any island state, dependent upon the sea for sustenance, trade, and movement. What makes the Seychelles especially unique is just how widely admired its shores are. Every year, a tourist base over triple the size of the country’s population finds solace somewhere upon this 492 km stretch of blue. “That’s 6,000 to 8,000 tourists per week,” explains Philomena Hollanda, a risk manager for the Seychelles’ Ministry of Tourism. “You won’t find a Seychellois who isn’t connected to tourism in some way.” The realities of climate change, sea level rise, and coral reef degradation, however, are beginning to pose potential threats to this coastal oasis, which has citizens and government set on implementing coastal resilience measures. In the Seychelles, life straddles the coastline. The approximately 94,000 residents are dependent upon the sea for sustenance. The country relies on a mere 400 hectares of agricultural land, increasingly at risk of climate-related events. (Drones for Development / World Bank) Effective management of these coastal risks, first and foremost, requires clear identification of the location of infrastructure, ecosystems, and erosion impact – and collecting this data is a complex, time-consuming, and costly task for any small country. The last aerial imagery exercise conducted for the Seychelles, a collection of 115 islands (eight of which are permanently inhabited) that span over an exclusive economic zone of 1,374,000 km2, was in 2011. And although this geospatial information is of sufficient quality, it represents an outdated image of the quickly eroding coastal zones. Satellite imagery is, at times, employed to compensate, but, for an island state with excessive cloud cover, this rarely allows for a high standard of analysis. “We don’t always need to do things the old, conventional way. We have to innovate.” Paul Labaleine, Director General for the Department of Risk and Disaster Management (DRDM) in the Seychelles, stresses that the government is motivated to address this gap through innovation: “In the Seychelles, we have had to use what is available to us. From a perspective of development, risk management, reduction, and preparedness, we believe drones will be the answer to our prayers.” Drone operation is a team effort, requiring patient and focussed observation of both the screen and the sky. (Drones for Development / World Bank) “We must think outside the box” With the support of the Global Facility for Disaster Risk and Recovery (GFDRR), and inspired by the experience of Zanzibar, a neighboring island state with similar challenges, the Seychelles is now embracing drones as a tool to collect low-cost, highly accurate aerial imagery for resilient development. In Zanzibar, drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), were introduced in 2016 through the Zanzibar Mapping Initiative (ZMI), a collaboration between the World Bank and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar. The data collected through this project has already been used to create a new base map for the islands, further supporting environmental monitoring and disaster risk reduction. By partnering with the State University of Zanzibar, ZMI has additionally trained hundreds of students and improved local capacity within the geospatial realm, prompting major investment in the development of a regional drone industry. The eBee, a light-weight Sensefly product, is used by the Zanzibar Mapping Initiative team to conduct aerial surveys. (Drones for Development / World Bank) With similar goals in mind, the DRDM recently invited key members and partners of the ZMI team to lead a south-south knowledge exchange on the topic of drones for development. Over the course of one week, these trainers – coming from the World Bank, Tanzania Flying Labs (part of a global network connected to WeRobotics, a US-based non-profit), and Drone Adventures (a Swiss non-profit working with Sensefly) – taught representatives from 34 different Seychellois government and NGO agencies how to plan, fly, and process data for a drone flight. Through Seychelles-specific case studies, participants were further introduced to the many applications of the imagery collected. Animation created from drone imagery by yves barthelemy. Participants from the training conceptualized several different scenarios that can and will potentially be aided by the introduction of drones – from change detection to disease surveillance to topographical surveys. Jastin Bibi, a disease surveyor and responder working for the Ministry of Health in the Seychelles, expressed the attendees’ shared excitement for the potential of drones within their country post-training. “It is time to explore more and see how we can employ them in all sectors. We need to think outside the box. We don’t always need to do things the old, conventional way. We have to innovate.” Simultaneous to the workshop, drones were already being employed in such a way, as a selection of the trainers conducted a mapping pilot for the country. The team spent five days surveying vulnerable coastal areas on the islands of Mahé and La Digue, an effort that was guided by and will be used to inform initiatives led by government to mitigate disaster risk. The exercise successfully captured data for 11 critical sites on Mahé and 70 percent of La Digue – covering 30 km2 of the Seychelles’ coastal area. With proper planning comes successful flight. (Drones for Development / World Bank) A comprehensive intervention This training and mapping exercise is by no means an isolated intervention in the Seychelles. It is part of a broader OpenDRI project that began in 2014. Brenden Jongman, project leader from the World Bank explains, “It is all part of a broader collaboration aimed at building awareness of drone technologies across [the] Seychelles community, improving the technical operating capacity of government and NGO actors, and supporting the creation and sharing of geospatial data in the country.” The work is being led by DRDM under the Designated Minister’s Office of the Seychelles, the World Bank, and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), and it is being strengthened by an increasingly active geospatial community in the Seychelles. Trainers teach a group in the Seychelles the ins and outs of operating drones. (Drones for Development / World Bank) On the islands, a Geospatial Working Group is now convening all institutions that deal with geospatial information to encourage standardization and open access to all data. Using the data to be collected with drones, these institutions will be working on an extended community/collaborative mapping project, part of GFDRR’s Open Cities Africa Initiative. Imagery will enable participating groups to identify infrastructure and assets of interest for tourists and for Seychellois citizens with the goal of improving resilience to climate risk. “I believe we’re on the right track. The coordination is there. The will is there. But we need to improve as we go along,” Labaleine says, further urging that “immediate and innovative measures, beginning with drones, are paramount to the preservation of our coastlines – for adoring tourists and Seychellois alike.” Read this post on GFDRR or Medium.



In Niger, the World Bank is supporting the Government reduce the vulnerability of populations at risk of flooding, while taking into account the requirements of community development and capacity building of national structures both at central and local level. DATA SHARING PLATFORM COUNTERPART PGCR-DU (Projet de Gestion des Risques de Catastrophes et de Développement Urbain – Disaster Risk Management and Urban Development Project) NUMBER OF GEONODE LAYERS39 Understanding Niger’s Risks Despite its semi-arid climate, Niger is regularly stricken by floods that destroy housing, infrastructure and croplands everywhere in the country. While flood damages usually occur in the vicinity of permanent water bodies such as the Niger and Komadougou rivers, more and more damages and casualties have been reported as linked to intense precipitations and runoff in urban areas. Despite the recurrent losses, little is known about the number of people who are living in flood-prone areas or the value of properties at risk. Furthermore, the vast majority of stations in the meteorological and hydrological collection network does not have the ability to transmit data in real-time and therefore cannot be fully exploited in emergency situations. Collecting Data With the support of the World Bank, the PGRC-DU is supporting the Nigerien Ministry of water and sanitation to retrofit the hydrometric station network with new water level gauges with real-time data transmission capability. The new gauges will make hydrometric data collection more efficient and more reliable while allowing for a faster detection of flood risk. At the same time, the PGRC-DU is funding the collection of critical socio-economic information and building characteristics in all areas of Niamey (the capital of Niger) that are deemed vulnerable to floods. UAVs are being used to acquire high-resolution images of potentially flooded areas that would help better identify buildings characteristics and develop a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) with 10cm vertical resolution, which will help better predict water movement in the area. Sharing Data The collected hydrometric data will be available to selected users in an online portal, along with various other data sets from regional and global sources. Part of the data collected in Niamey is expected to contribute to the OpenStreetMap project. The rest of the data will be analyzed and converted into vulnerability maps and reports available to the public. Using Data It is expected that the network of real-time hydrometric stations will be used to feed a flood warning system that will provide authorities a better estimate of flood risk at any given time. The acquired DTM is being used to develop computer models that can simulate flood propagation in the city of Niamey and evaluate the effects of existing of planned flood protection infrastructures. Finally, the collected socio-economic data combined with flood simulations will provide decision-makers an accurate estimation of flood risk in terms of exposed populations and expected economic damages.


In Uganda, the World Bank is supporting the Government to develop improved access to drought risk related information and quicken the decision of scaling up disaster risk financing (DRF) mechanisms COUNTERPART National Emergency Coordination and Operations Center (NECOC) Project Overview In the context of the third Northern Uganda Social Action Fund Project (NUSAF III), the World Bank is supporting the Government of Uganda to develop improved access to drought risk related information and quicken the decision of scaling up disaster risk financing (DRF) mechanisms. The OpenDRI team is providing technical assistance to Uganda’s National Emergency Coordination and Operations Center (NECOC) in determining requirements for collecting, storing and analyzing satellite data used for monitoring drought conditions. Understanding Uganda’s Risk In recent years Uganda has been impacted by drought, with more than 10% of the population being at risk. The northern sub-region of Karamoja is one of the most severely hit, with a consequent increase in food insecurity. Currently the Government of Uganda (GoU) faces challenges in the collection and analysis of information upon which they can base a decision to respond and mitigate such risk. Without transparent, objective and timely data, times in mobilizing and financing responses can be delayed. Collecting Data The World Bank is supporting GoU to strengthen its disaster risk management strategy and response mechanisms. The current engagement looks to develop a more systematic, robust system for collecting, storing and analyzing drought risk related information to enable GoU to make more timely decisions. By retrieving satellite data systematically, NECOC will be able to analyze current crop and vegetation conditions with historic information, and quickly detect early warning signs of drought. Uganda has a vibrant OpenStreetMap community, which has been mapping the country since 2010. A pilot community mapping project funded by GFDRR with support from the Government of Belgium, is being conducted in the city of Kampala. Sharing Data The OpenDRI team provides support and advice to GoU in developing best practices for sharing and managing risk related information. Interoperability of data sources produced by various ministries and non-government organizations is critical to ensure timely access to data by NECOC and conduct effective drought risk analysis. A geospatial data sharing platform will be deployed by GoU to facilitate exchange of such critical information and adoption of data standards. Using Data A technical committee, composed of experts from the government and partner organizations, has agreed to use a satellite derived indicator known as Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as the primary dataset to inform decisions for triggering the disaster risk financing mechanism. Initially the system will be exclusively dedicated to monitoring drought risk in the northern sub-region of Karamoja. In the following years, it is expected to expand operations and cover other regions exposed to drought risk, integrating additional data sources which will become accessible thanks to improved data collection strategies and sharing mechanisms.


The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar (RGoZ) with the support of the World Bank has been developing the Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI) with the aim of supporting evidence-based and innovative solutions to better plan, mitigate, and prepare for natural disasters. Zanzibar is part of the Southwest Indian Ocean Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (SWIO RAFI) which seeks to address high vulnerability of the Southwest Indian Ocean Island States to disaster losses from catastrophes such as cyclones, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis. These threats are exacerbated by the effects of climate change, a growing population and increased economic impacts. DATA SHARING PLATFORM PROJECT PAGE ZAN SEA FACEBOOK PAGE Understanding Zanzibar’s Risk Zanzibar’s disaster events are mainly related to rainfall, and both severe flooding and droughts have been experienced. Sharing Data Island Map: OpenStreetMap Data collected through SWIO RAFI activities will be shared on a GeoNode. The ZanSea GeoNode currently contains 42 maps and 102 layers of geospatial data for Zanzibar. Collecting Data The Zanzibar mapping initiative is creating a high resolution map of the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, over 2300 square km, using low-cost drones instead of satellite images or manned planes. The Zanzibar Commission for Lands will use the maps for better planning, land tenure and environmental monitoring. Data is being collected in collaboration with the RGoZ. Using Data Data collected can be used for risk assessment and planning activities.

Pacific Islands: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI) is a joint initiative of SOPAC/SPC, World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank with the financial support of the Government of Japan, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Programme, and technical support from AIR Worldwide, New Zealand GNS Science, Geoscience Australia, Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), OpenGeo and GFDRR Labs. DATA SHARING PLATFORM NUMBER OF LAYERS 522 Understanding Risks in Pacific Island Countries The Pacific Island Countries are highly exposed to the adverse effects of climate change and natural hazards, which can result in disasters affecting their economic, human, and physical environment and impacting their long-term development agenda. Since 1950, natural disasters have affected approximately 9.2 million people in the Pacific Region, causing 9,811 reported deaths. Sharing Data throughout the Pacific Islands Launched in December 2011, the Pacific Risk Information System enhances management and sharing of geospatial data within the Pacific community. The system enables the creation of a dynamic online community around risk data by piloting the integration of social web features with geospatial data management. Exposure, hazard, and risk maps for 15 Pacific Countries were produced as part of the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI) 2 and are accessible through this platform as powerful visual tools for informing decision-makers, facilitating communication and education on disaster risk management. Thumbnail Image by Samoa Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sri Lanka

The Disaster Management Centre of Sri Lanka (DMC) with the support of the World Bank has been developing the Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI) to support evidence-based methods to better plan for, mitigate, and respond to natural disasters. COUNTERPART Disaster Management Centre, Ministry of Disaster Management NUMBER OF BUILDINGS MAPPED 130,564 with 8 attributes each ROADS MAPPED >1000 km   Understanding Sri Lanka’s Risks Since 2000, flood and drought events have cumulatively affected more than 13 million people across Sri Lanka. Regular flooding, drought, and landslides are natural hazards that threaten the long-term growth and development of the country. In Sri Lanka, nearly $500 million in unplanned expenditures resulting from flooding in 2010 and 2011 has strained government budgets and required reallocation from other planned development priorities. The impacts of these events are growing due to increased development and climate change, both of which put more assets at risk. Sharing Data To enable better disaster risk modeling, the Government of Sri Lanka partnered with GFDRR, UNDP and OCHA on the development of an OpenDRI program in November 2012. This branch of the initiative focused on the South Asia Region and was dubbed the Open Cities project. A component of the OpenDRI Open Cities mission in Sri Lanka was to collate data around hazards and exposure and prepare them to be uploaded into a GeoNode which serves as a disaster risk information platform. Working with the DMC, the National Survey Department, Department of the Census and Statistics, Nation Building Research Organization, Information and Communication Technology Agency, Department of Irrigation, several universities and the international partners, the OpenDRI team supported DMC with the aggregation of data that had been stored in static PDFs, old paper maps and several databases onto the GeoNode. The data on the GeoNode is currently available to authorized users in the OpenDRI network, in preparation for launch. This transitional state is typical for open data projects, as the partnership reviews data with the parties and affirms that it is ready for release to the open public. Some layers may restrict access only to authorized users. Collecting Data The project has also built technical capacity and awareness in Sri Lanka through training sessions on open data and crowdsourced mapping in Batticaloa city and Gampaha District. As a result of the Open Data for Resilience Initiative, government and academic volunteers have mapped over 130,000 buildings and 1000 kilometers of roadways on the crowdsourced OpenStreetMap database. This enables the country to plan ahead and be prepared for future disaster and climate risks. It also helps planning during disaster responses: the data was used to assess flooding impacts in real time and direct government resources during the May 2016 floods in Gampaha district.


Afghanistan launched an open data sharing platform in 2017 to support decision making about disaster risks. The platform also offers Risk Management Tools for cost-benefit analyses and decision support, as well as data extraction. DATA SHARING PLATFORM NUMBER OF GEONODE LAYERS98 Understanding Afghanistan’s Risks Afghanistan is at particular risk to earthquakes, landslides, and riverine flooding. In the last decade, however, droughts and extreme temperatures have significantly impacted its population and economy as well.


At OpenDRI we are committed to increasing information that can empower individuals and their governments to reduce risk to natural hazards and climate change in their communities. We’ve compiled a database of relevant resources to share what we have learned through our own projects and from the work of others.

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