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.


Views from the 2018 GeoNode Summit

Continuing on its encouraging trajectory, and following the publication on investments in open source software, the 2018 GeoNode Summit welcomed many new and regular contributors to Torino, Italy from March 26-28. The Summit, hosted by ITHACA, was a chance for the community to share knowledge, ideas, and use cases for GeoNode – a free and open source software for creating websites to manage and share geospatial data. GFDRR has supported the growth of GeoNode since 2010, by investing in code development, training and community building. Today GeoNode is used in many official government websites to manage geospatial data locally as part of OpenDRI projects. 2018 GeoNode Summit participants representing more than 20 countries The Summit showed us that the GeoNode community is growing, with more than 60 developers and users participating from 20 countries, including World Bank client countries Bangladesh, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal and Uganda. Summit participants included representatives from World Food Programme, World Bank, Médecins Sans Frontières, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the private sector. The Summit began with a day of educational workshops for both developers and users of the platform. The second day was dedicated to presentations in which participants shared their experiences using and extending GeoNode. These talks covered a wide range of examples, from deploying GeoNode in low and middle-income countries to implementation of new features and more technical uses. Technical presentations demonstrated (1) the integration of GeoNode with QGIS 3, (2) running third-party flood models via a GeoNode front end, and (3) the use of Docker software to simplify installation. Newcomers at the Summit were provided a snapshot of the rich history of GeoNode’s evolution since 2010. The third day saw sessions on governance, a code sprint, and a human-centred design workshop. The design workshop followed recommendations made in the open source investment report, which insists that investment in user-centred design and documentation are key for open source communities. Stay tuned for a separate blog post detailing the activities and insights from this workshop. The code sprint focussed on finalizing the GeoNode version 2.8 release, which includes exciting features such as the new metadata wizard editor, a role-based data publication workflow, full compatibility with QGIS styles, and many bug fixes. A new governance model for the GeoNode project is now being defined. A Project Steering Committee (PSC) will be set up this month to accommodate the expanding set of actors, including developers and other active members of the community. This new structure will ensure a better technical foundation, outreach coordination, and leadership for GeoNode. The Summit ended with a roadmap discussion for working towards GeoNode 3.0. To ensure GeoNode continues to make the most of latest technology trends, developers are launching an initiative to modernize the code base using a more flexible architecture that follows current development best practices, including an API-first approach, micro services, and compliance with new Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) international standards. These updates will ensure GeoNode’s stability, extensibility, ease of deployment, and integration with other geospatial systems. The success of the 2018 Summit is testament to growing demand for GeoNode as the open source platform of choice for managing and sharing geospatial data. Such in-person gatherings are invaluable opportunities for the globally distributed project community to share experiences, get to know each other, cross-pollinate ideas, and create a roadmap. There’s an exciting, healthy future for GeoNode – find out how you can get involved!

RiskInfo – The new platform for Sri Lanka's open geospatial data

In December 2017, the Disaster Management Centre of Sri Lanka (DMC) launched as the “National Disaster Risk Information Platform” to host the country’s open geospatial data. When this work began in 2012, essential data to disaster risk management – where it existed – was scattered across different organizations, varying in format and quality. Essentially, it wasn’t available or ready to be used, and it was near-impossible for organizations to find out who had what data. Why RiskInfo? Disaster Management is a high-priority, crosscutting policy area that requires datasets from multiple agencies. Access to these datasets was historically problematic for the stakeholder agencies, research community, and the DMC, particularly for its regional offices all over Sri Lanka. This stifled efforts to make risk informed decisions as part of the development planning process to prepare for and respond to disasters. RiskInfo was born out of efforts by the DMC, GFDRR, and the World Bank to consolidate data for disaster risk management from various partners. The DMC took the lead setting up and maintaining the online spatial data management platform, based on the GeoNode technology developed by GFDRR. This process involved unlocking data from PDFs and creating a uniform format to store hazard, exposure, risk, and base data. Its main purpose is to allow the sharing of geospatial datasets in a collaborative multi-agency (or multi-user) environment. The RiskInfo platform has served as a foundation for building a community of practice around open geospatial data in Sri Lanka. Users have their own access credentials to upload maps and layers that can then be used by others. This system enables the easy, efficient discovery of geospatial layers such as buildings, roads, electricity lines, flood maps, and probabilistic hazard maps. The successes of the RiskInfo platform extend beyond the online tool itself to include (1) partnerships with multiple stakeholders including government ministries and data producers and (2) capacity building to maintain the platform in-house over time. Perhaps the biggest win has been the improvement of data sharing in Sri Lanka’s institutions, which makes critical information available, usable, and increasingly valuable as a public good. The RiskInfo platform complements ongoing implementation of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) roadmap by Sri Lanka’s Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), which will directly support integrating all spatial data systems within the government. The RiskInfo Launch On 21st December 2017, dozens of guests from around the world were welcomed to the launch of RiskInfo by the Director General of the Disaster Management Centre. In the keynote address Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya, Secretary of the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, described the concept of NSDI and e-government service delivery in Sri Lanka. Guests had the chance to participate in hands-on demonstrations of the new RiskInfo Portal, and discuss ideas for additional applications of the tool in the future. Looking ahead With a central platform in place, next steps involve exploring how RiskInfo can be used better during an emergency. This combines with other DMC efforts that GFDRR is supporting the DMC, like the development of a collaborative on-call Rapid Emergency Mapping Mechanism (REMM) that will be a de-facto task force for disaster response composed of geospatial experts (Surveyors, engineers, GIS and remote sensing experts, drone operators, etc.). will undoubtedly become the backbone of future efforts in risk based data sharing to increase efficacy in disaster management in the country. – Contact Information:  Mr. Srimal Samansiri, Assistant Director Research and Development Ms. Ishara Dilrukshi, Database Analyst

How Afghanistan uses GeoNode to build resilience

By Brenden Jongman, GFDRR Disaster Risk Management Specialist, & Jocelyn West, Disaster Risk Communication Consultant 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

By Remígio Chilaule, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane; Abneusa Stefania, MozDevs; & Bontje Zangerling, The World Bank 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.



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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