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.


How Afghanistan uses GeoNode to build resilience

By Brenden Jongman, GFDRR Disaster Risk Management Specialist, & Jocelyn West, Disaster Risk Communication Consultant Interested in GeoNode? Check out the 2018 GeoNode Summit in Torino, Italy! Reliable risk information is critical for resilient development planning, public policy and investments. This is especially critical in Afghanistan, where disasters caused by natural hazards have affected nine million people and inflicted more than 20,000 fatalities since 1980. However, high levels of poverty, fragility and conflict make it challenging to collect risk information and build resilience in the country. When the World Bank’s South Asia Disaster Risk and Climate Change team started working in Afghanistan, very little information was available on hazards and risk. So the team set out to produce basic information essential to disaster risk management. They developed innovations for visualization and cost-benefit analysis on top of a standard GeoNode, which have enabled Afghanistan’s planning processes to incorporate disaster considerations. Data Challenges Key challenges faced during this process were data availability and collection. Data in Afghanistan is generally difficult to access, scattered across different institutions and often both incomplete and outdated. The team spent many hours and days tracking down datasets from government, development partners, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and other providers. With support from the Government of Japan and the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction, the team conducted a comprehensive multi-hazard risk assessment at the national level. The assessment covered flooding, drought, landslides, earthquakes and avalanches at a high level of detail for the entire country. The team set up the online geospatial platform Afghanistan Disaster Risk Info GeoNode to store and organize all the geospatial data needed to create the Afghanistan Risk Profile, which visualizes the results. This platform is publicly available at The GeoNode is now a public platform that allows users to create, share and access geospatial data and maps for decision-making about disaster risk in Afghanistan. It contains both locally developed datasets, such as the location and typology of thousands of schools, and globally derived products such as satellite imagery and elevation models. Innovating on top of GeoNode The Afghanistan GeoNode platform contains multiple innovations that build upon the standard GeoNode interface. First, it holds a new ‘data extraction’ tool, which allows the user to easily select, visualize and download data based on their selected indicator type and geographical areas. This makes it easier to zoom in on specific geographic locations to assess risks and plan accordingly. Second, it has a new cost-benefit analysis tool for floods and earthquakes. This tool is pre-populated with the result of a cost-benefit analysis, allowing the user to discover the benefits of investing in risk reduction. In addition to the GeoNode, the Afghanistan Disaster Risk Profile summarizes the results of the risk assessment for each of the hazards and provides key recommendations for risk mitigation measures to reduce losses from disasters. Government counterparts, including staff from the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) and several line ministries, are now using these tools to mainstream disaster and climate considerations in their budget and planning processes. Both World Bank teams and government counterparts are engaging in an intensive training program on disaster risk management and the use of risk information. This training focuses on incorporating resilience into the planning, design, and implementation of investments in Afghanistan. Over the coming months, additional efforts will be made to use the GeoNode to inform avalanche resilience along key transport corridors, and to support community-level resilience efforts. Little by little, risk information is being used to increase the resilience of communities and key economic sectors in the challenging context of Afghanistan.

MapMoz takes first steps community mapping Mozambique’s vulnerable urban areas

Maputo aerial view ( Like many sub-Saharan African capital cities, Mozambique’s capital Maputo has all the marks of a city whose rate of growth surpasses the ability of its urban systems to cope and respond. The tell-tale symptoms include: ever-expanding suburbs of mostly residential and micro-scale commercial uses and insufficient infrastructure; increasing traffic congestion and incapable public transport systems; increasingly dense and disordered land use; among others. This scenario leaves communities in many neighbourhoods exposed to public health problems and vulnerable to natural hazards, particularly flooding. To face these challenges and work towards more resilient settlements, a community mapping pilot project was launched in the Greater Maputo Area with support from the World Bank and GFDRR. The project aimed at learning and adapting a data gathering methodology that could provide critical information about risk, at a low cost. The methodology was informed by the on-going Ramani Huria project in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, as well as Open Cities Asia; it pairs university students with residents of the mapped areas and equips them with knowledge and simple tools to collect and digitize data. This data is subsequently made fully accessible on (OSM), a global database for georeferenced information about the planet. The data was processed to make it more accessible to decision makers directly concerned with risk reduction, in particular Mozambique’s National Disaster Management Agency (INGC) and the municipal and local authorities. Final maps of pilot neighbourhoods The project tested out the methodology in two neighbourhoods: Hulene-B in Maputo, and Acordos de Lusaka in Matola, totalling close to 8 km² of dense low-income settlements. Between February and June 2017, more than 40 students and activists worked with residents to collect detailed data about their neighbourhoods. Fine-grained data includes over 40 km of narrow inner alleys, about 65.000 m² of wetlands, and more than 220 homes built in and around them. The vast amount of detailed data collected was not the only impressive result of the project. Another equally important outcome was the successful adaptation of the Ramani Huria experience to a fully-tested Mozambican version of the methodology, capable of being replicated in similar urban contexts across Mozambique.   Another result was the ‘arrival’ of the discussion on open data to the Mozambican institutional and social context, which is best exemplified by the interest and willingness to collaborate demonstrated by INGC, Municipalities and public university (all direct partners of the pilot), and by the emergence of a community of enthusiastic volunteer mappers. Of course, a lot of data has been produced for the two pilot neighbourhoods (including high quality drone aerial imagery for one of them) which sets a standard pushing other areas towards creating the same resource in urban management for resiliency.   This slideshow requires JavaScript. Towards the end of the project, three members of the team and partners were granted GFDRR fellowships to attend a five-day training in Kampala followed by the three-day State of the Map Africa (SotM Africa) – the first time the landmark mapping conference was held on the continent. The training allowed the team to synthesize all the technical knowledge acquired throughout the pilot (using JOSM), and learn new skills in open data analysis for disaster risk management (using QGIS and InaSAFE). During SotM, the Mozambican delegation got the opportunity to present their work and interact with mapping communities from all over Africa and the world, sharing lessons learned as well as challenges, opening new avenues for the future of community mapping, not only for Mozambique but also for the OSM community as a whole. This inspiration and information has helped to further motivate the mapping activists who have since started mapping a third neighbourhood in Maputo, under the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team micro-grant program. A group of civil society institutions has also taken up the methodology and are currently volunteering to open up existing public transport data by putting it on OpenStreetMap. Ongoing mapping, beyond the pilot The continuation of these mapping activities has been fuelled by grassroots efforts toward a vision of making community mapping common practice, understood as a simple act of citizenship. The pilot project has been an important first step toward that vision.

'Malawi Mappers' Mobilize to Improve Open Geospatial Data

Author: Christine Mhone is the GIS Projects Leader at mHub, Malawi’s first technology and innovation hub. She was nominated by mHub to represent Malawi at the first State of the Map Africa conference in Kampala, Uganda in 2017. Christine has continued to lead the Malawi Mappers community in adding data to OpenStreetMap. Christine can be reached via email at: cmhone{at}mhubmw\dot\com   Open mapping in Malawi In recent months, more than 180 youth across various tertiary institutions in Malawi have been trained in the use of OpenStreetMap (OSM) to improve open geospatial data for disaster risk management. This is the direct result of efforts by the Malawi Mappers Team – a vibrant budding community of volunteers helping to catalyse OpenStreetMap adoption nationwide. I have helped lead this new OSM community in Malawi since August 2017, building upon previous work by the Malawi government and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT). The quality and coverage of digital maps in Ntcheu, Zomba, Monkey Bay and Cape Maclear have already seen significant improvement from this initiative. Malawi is exposed to a number of natural hazards including floods, droughts, hailstorms, winds, landslides, earthquakes, volcanoes, fires, and disease and pest outbreaks. The use of OSM could be pivotal to improving the quality of open geospatial data available for disaster risk management. Improving the quality of OSM data also has significant potential for impact across use cases such as zoning, population census, land ownership, and administrative boundaries, helping stakeholders at multiple levels make better decisions for the benefit of all Malawians. The State of the Map Africa Conference As the GIS Projects Leader at mHub, Malawi’s first technology and innovation hub, I was nominated to attend the first ever African OpenStreetMap (State of the Map) conference in Kampala, Uganda in July 2017. Leading up to the conference, I attended a five-day training event (co-organized by the Government of Uganda, OpenDRI, and financed by the ACP-EU Africa Disaster Risk Financing Program) alongside other OSM community leaders to learn how to use OpenStreetMap, QGIS and InaSAFE for disaster risk management. The training exposed me to the various use cases for open geospatial data in Malawi and made me aware of the information gaps and vulnerabilities that exist from a lack of it. I also participated in the panel discussion “Women in Mapping and ICT” with OSM community leaders from Tanzania, Mali, Zambia and Niger. My presentation “Women in Technology and Mapping in Malawi” aimed to highlight key challenges that stem from a lack of diversity in software development and mapping. One such challenge is a gender bias in the way technology applications are developed and data are collected. Such biases ultimately impact decision making in development planning and disaster risk management, and can have a negative impact on women and girls. Back in Malawi after State of the Map I returned to Malawi armed with new knowledge and a passion to contribute to my country. I soon had the opportunity to partner with the MASDAP (Malawi Spatial Data Platform) team, an institutional group composed of the Malawi Department of Surveys, DoDMA, NSO, local district organizations, and universities. We collaborated to plan an OSM mapathon, a coordinated group mapping event towards a specific goal. We brought together more than 35 people in August 2017 at mHub in Lilongwe to learn about OpenStreetMap and to map key features missing in the Ntcheu district. Since the kick-off for Malawi Mappers, our organizing team has been busy successfully implementing mapathons across southern Malawi. Polytechnic University, Chancellor College, and Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) all opened their doors to the initiative and hosted mapathons with more than 40 participants attending each event. We have seen these events spark interest and inspiration across the college campuses. At Chancellor College, a partnership is now being developed to establish a permanent recurring mapping training and mapathons open to the community. To date, 180 participants have been trained, and they have collectively mapped four major areas in Malawi, namely; Ntcheu, Cape Maclear, Zomba and Monkey Bay. These areas now have geospatial data to highlight key institutions such as hospitals, education centres, markets, roads, houses, churches, to name a few. As I write, community members are still actively working remotely to complete the process. I share a vision with mHub that these initiatives will help to fuel the growth and improve the quality of open geospatial data in Malawi, starting through OSM and extending to other geospatial platforms such as MASDAP. Malawi Mappers’ next goal is to digitize the entire country by building out a trained community of volunteers through mapathons. Eventually, our field mapping teams plan to capture high-quality imagery with UAVs and add observational data to make OSM even more valuable for disaster risk management in Malawi.   – Supported by the World Bank and Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction. 

Addressing Flood Vulnerability in Niamey, Niger, West Africa

Authors: Ousmane Seidou Dr. Ousmane Seidou is an associate professor of water resources engineering at the University of Ottawa, and an adjunct professor at the United Nations University, Centre for Water, Environmental and Health (UNU-INWEH). He is involved in research, teaching and capacity development activities related to water resources management, hydrological risk and adaptation to climate variability and change, with a focus on North America and West Africa. Fatiman Alher Fatiman Alher is a Master 2 student in the Department of Geography of the Abdou Moumouni University of Niamey. She is a key member of the OpenStreetMap community in Niger and is the representative of the International Women and IT Network in Niger. She is leading a socio-economic and flood vulnerability data assessment in Niamey, Niger. Fatiman is passionate about geographical information systems, open data, and information technology. She is the local representative of the International Women and ICT Network in Niger. A city plagued by recurrent floods The Niger River is part of the daily life of the city of Niamey, capital of the Republic of Niger. Lined by fancy restaurants, luxurious gardens and rice fields that extend to the city center, it provides transportation, food and recreation to the local population. Unfortunately, almost every year in the rainy season, the capital is mourned by sudden floods which are caused either by rising water levels in the Niger River or by intense precipitations. These floods cause the collapse not only of houses built with dried clay, but also of modern houses built within the flow of runoff due to unplanned urbanization. From June to August 2017, floods due to heavy rains have reportedly killed 43 people and affected 68,000 people in the country. Nigeriens remember clearly the catastrophic floods in 2012 which claimed the lives of 87 individuals and affected more than 525,000 people nationwide. In these and other events, the majority of the affected persons live in the poorest parts of the city; most casualties are due to mud houses collapsing after the walls are weakened by a long rainfall event or accumulated runoff. Once water recedes, however, people rebuild in the the exact same spaces and the stage is set for the next disaster. Figure 1AFigure 1B Figure 1: a) collapsed house after an intense rainfall; b) houses threatened by the rising water level (courtesy of Fatiman Alher) The anarchic expansion of the city without the proper drainage infrastructure contributes to rainfall-generated flooding that can occur anywhere in the city. Part of the recent extensions of the city happened directly in some tributaries of the Niger River that have become dry because of the decrease in rainfall that occurred in the last three decades. These tributaries will eventually start flowing if the region recovers from the recent drought conditions – and there are hints that the recovery is underway. Figure 2 Figure 2: Flooded neighborhood in a usually dry tributary of the Niger River in Niamey (Courtesy of Aziz Kountché, Director, Drone Africa Services) A desire for change, but a lack of actionable data Despite these recurring losses, the flood response in Niger is primarily a post-disaster response that consists of providing temporary shelter and food to the affected populations. In 2012, the Niger Basin Authority issued a warning that water levels in the river have reached critical levels, but the warning was not followed by action until the dikes protecting the lower parts of the city breached. In reaction to the 2012 floods, Niger Government with the support of the World Bank launched the PGCR-DU (Projet de Gestion des Risques de Catastrophes et de Développement Urbain – Disaster Risk Management and Urban Development Project) to 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. So far, the PGRC-DU has launched various flood risk mitigation actions including the retrofitting of construction of new facilities for the Nigerien civil protection services, the retrofitting of three flood protection dikes in Niamey, and the pavement of selected streets in Niamey functioning as drainage systems during intense storms. Without a thorough understanding of flooding dynamics in the area, and a comprehensive inventory of exposed assets and people, it is hard to objectively prioritize the interventions and make sure resources are used efficiently for an optimal relief. With the support of the World Bank, the PGRC-DU is developing state-of the art tools to be able to identify flooding hot-spots and evaluate the added value of potential flood mitigation measure. These tools will lead to a better knowledge of exposed assets and people, and a better knowledge of flood dynamic in the city of Niamey. A geodatabase of exposed assets and people. Led by Fatiman Alher, a key member of OSM (Open Street Map) in Niger, a team of 20 survey crew were trained on digital cartography using OpenStreetMap. They are using a mobile application called GeoODK (Geographical Open Data Kit) to collect critical socio-economic information in all areas in Niamey that are deemed vulnerable to floods. The collected information include the geographic coordinates and the characteristics of each building in the household, the number of persons living there, as well as the preferred contact channel in case of emergency. They also collect the characteristics of key infrastructure elements such as culverts and streetlights. Figure 3AFigure 3B Figure 3: Survey crew collecting data on the field, and analyzing it when back at their office. The information is uploaded to a server which generates a digital map of the spatial distribution of exposed assets and people as shown on the photo below. Figure 4 Figure 4: Surveyed buildings as of 30/9/2017 High-resolution imagery and elevation data Understand flood dynamics in urban areas where both the built environment and natural slopes control water movements is extremely challenging. While satellite imagery and topographic maps can easily be downloaded from the Internet for any area in the world, their coarse resolution and quality are insufficient for urban runoff characterization. A young Nigerien start-up called Drone Africa Services has been hired to acquire high-resolution images of potentially flooded areas that would help better identify buildings characteristics, and develop a Digital Terrain Model or DTM (a fancy word for topography) with 10cm vertical resolution to better predict water movements in the area. Figure 5AFigure 5B Figure 5: Drones on display before a field data collection in Niamey (Courtesy of Aziz Kountché, Director, Drone Africa Services) Drone Africa Services will also provide a training to up to 40 persons from the academia, government services and the OSM community on the operation and data acquisition using drones. Simulating flood risk under various intervention scenarios Future floods will not necessarily be similar to past ones, because both the natural and built environment are in constant evolution. Provided high quality data is available, computer models can simulate flood extent and water velocity in the city even if major changes have occurred (e.g. higher dike protection dikes, new urbanized areas, etc.). In collaboration with the Dr. Ousmane Seidou (University of Ottawa, Canada), a 2D hydrodynamic model is being built to dynamically simulate flood propagation in the city of Niamey under anticipated flow and precipitation condition. The model will use the DTM to be developed by Drone Africa for an improved accuracy. The simulated data can be used in conjunction with the geodatabase of exposed assets and people to identify the number of persons potentially affected by an imminent flood, of the value of properties at stake. Figure 6 Figure 6: preliminary simulation of the 2012 floods in Niamey. The accuracy of the simulation will be improved with the DTM being collected by Drone Africa Services Conclusions and perspectives The tools and data products under development will give, for the first time, a quantitative portrait of flood risk in Niamey in the current situation, but also under various intervention scenarios. If adequately communicated to stakeholders, the knowledge generated by these tools should help the decision makers objectively choose between alternative flood protection measures. Ultimately, there will be a better use of each dollar invested in flood risk reduction in the city of Niamey.



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. 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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