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.


Open Cities Africa Kickoff 2018

The Open Cities Africa Kickoff hosted the largest gathering of teams in Open Cities history this summer in Kampala, Uganda. For a week in June, eleven Open Cities project teams represented by 55 delegates convened as a cohort to receive training in innovative, open, and participatory data collection and mapping processes to support management of urban growth and disaster risk. Delegates group themselves by country to form a human map of Africa and Europe. Participating groups included the local and technical organizations who are implementing the projects in each city, as well as the government counterparts with whom they work. Training included: How to design a collaborative digital mapping project. Open Cities offered dedicated modules on topics such as disaster risk management, open data, stakeholder engagement, and gender-informed design. These modules were taught through a mix of interactive activities and presentation. How to use and apply digital mapping technology. This aspect featured guest sessions from the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) on mapping workflow and data models; GeoGecko on drones for community mapping and acquiring and using street view imagery; and Mapillary on machine learning and computer vision applied to street view imagery. The Open Cities Antananarivo team practices tracking features along the road using FieldPapers and the Mapillary app. A delegate takes notes during HOT’s Open Data Kit and Open Map Kit workshop. Throughout the event, the teams had opportunities to interact and exchange ideas through presentations and brainstorming exercises. Delegates also learned of the techniques of existing projects such as Tanzania Ramani Huria, Zanzibar Mapping Initiative, and Uganda Open Mapping. City teams shared their challenges and strategies for intervention on a range of topics, including disaster risk management, open data, stakeholder engagement, and gender-informed design. Between intensive workshops, the cohort experienced the local art of Uganda by attending a performance by the Ndere Troupe at Kampala’s Ndere Cultural Centre. The diversity of attendants was a great highlight of the event. Half of the participants were francophone, and half anglophone, with many cultures, languages, and religions represented. This presented a unique opportunity for engagement and knowledge sharing. The energy and motivation of the participants was tangible; their strong commitment to open data and open collaboration for better urban planning was apparent throughout the event.   Muslim delegates lead the cohort in celebrating Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan. Going forward, each team will finalize their project design and begin stakeholder consultations before proceeding with community mapping. During the course of the project, participants will continue to expand their skill sets and refer to materials from the kick-off training sessions using the online platform that accompanies Open Cities Africa. The curriculum will guide them through more detailed content and tasks as the projects develop, as well as provide a forum for continued exchange across the continent. Open Cities Africa is dedicated to three goals: Collecting Data: The collection and creation of up-to-date, high quality, accessible data to better understand natural hazard risk and support data-driven decision-making for each city. Putting Data to Use: Targeted information tools developed to support uses of risk data by local government and partners. Creating local skills and partnerships: Local institutions and implementing organizations will develop skills in data collection, mapping and tool development and will have opportunities to engage with other teams in the region. Stay tuned with teams’ progress on and

Short Term Consultancy - ThinkHazard! project with GFDRR Innovation Lab

Location: Washington DC Duration: 50 to 100 days Application deadline: July 31, 2018 (extended) Background  The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) is a partnership of the World Bank, United Nations, major donors and recipient countries. Launched in September 2006, GFDRR provides technical and financial assistance to help disaster-prone countries decrease their vulnerability and adapt to climate change. GFDRR works closely with UN agencies, client governments, World Bank regional offices, and other partners.  The GFDRR mission is to facilitate implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, by ensuring that all development policies, plans, and investments—including post-disaster reconstruction—are designed to minimize disaster risks and build the resilience of people and economies to climate change.  GFDRR implements the majority of its activities in countries through the World Bank, in partnership with national, regional, and other international agencies. It is organized along three tracks of operation to achieve its development objectives at the global, regional and country levels. In addition, GFDRR also has thematic tracks to support country engagements. They are: the Innovation Lab, Hydromet, Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance (DRFI), Resilient Recovery, Inclusive Community Resilience, Urban Resilience, Safer Schools, and the Small Island States Resilience Initiative (SISRI). These provide grant recipients with specialized knowledge and quality assurance in the design and implementation of activities. The thematic tracks allow GFDRR to collaborate with a broad array of partners, facilitate global engagements and capacity building, and produce innovative knowledge. GFDRR is currently seeking a Short-Term Consultant (STC) who will work primarily in the GFDRR Innovation Lab ( on the ThinkHazard! project.  Innovation Lab and ThinkHazard!  To meet the needs of a rapidly changing world, GFDRR Innovation Lab supports the use of science, technology, and open data in promoting new ideas and the development of original tools to empower decision-makers in vulnerable countries to strengthen their resilience. Recent innovations in the field have enabled better access to disaster and climate risk information and a greater capacity to create, manage, and use this information. Innovation Lab activities are designed and implemented in partnership with government institutions and key international and local partners, ensuring that all activities add value in planning, operational, and recovery activities.   GFDRR has developed a hazard screening tool, ThinkHazard! ( to help mainstream disaster risk in World Bank and wider international development projects. ThinkHazard! has been successful in helping professionals who are not experts in natural hazards and risk, to understand the range and level of 11 hazards in their project areas, along with exploring risk reduction recommendations to manage the disaster risk. The development team has established a methodology for communicating hazard levels and risk reduction actions, and collated a wide range of data sources to inform this, but is continually seeking to improve ThinkHazard! and its utility in disaster risk management through classification of new data, enhancement of current features, and implementation of new features.   Duties and Responsibilities The successful consultant will work under the supervision of the ThinkHazard! task team lead and report to the Innovation team lead. S/he will work in close coordination with other Innovation Lab colleagues and relevant colleagues in GFDRR and the World Bank.  The consultant will take a leading role in the ongoing development of ThinkHazard! and engagement with its users, to promote the use of this open source risk communication tool in disaster risk management activities within and outside the World Bank. Specific activities will include but are not limited to the following:  Identification of new sources of regional and national hazard data for inclusion in ThinkHazard!  Execution and/or oversight of data procurement and classification, including developing relationships with new and existing data providers  Planning and implementation of feature enhancements and links to complementary tools  Management of ongoing development, liaising regularly with external software developers  Management of user feedback processes  Development of a spatial analysis tool for the internal testing and classification of hazard data  Coordination of the use of ThinkHazard! data in other GFDRR, World Bank, and external projects  There may be related opportunities to work on other projects alongside ThinkHazard!.  Selection criteria   Demonstrated experience working with disaster risk data and geospatial technologies.  Demonstrated experience in disaster risk management and risk communication.  A minimum of Master’s degree or equivalent in a related field such as geospatial technology or disaster risk management.   High degree of motivation, initiative, flexibility, reliability, and responsiveness to changing demands.  Capacity for effective multi-tasking with demonstrated ability of being an independent starter with minimal supervision, and a high capacity to persevere for results.  Strong communication and advocacy skills, including ability to write concisely and clearly and synthesize complex documentation and ideas for a range of audiences.  Excellent inter-personal skills and proven ability to work in a team and intercultural environment.  Written and spoken fluency in English.  To apply  To apply, please send a CV and cover letter including any online resources you wish to be considered, to Vivien Deparday ( 

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:


Open Cities Africa

Carried out in 11 cities in Sub-Saharan Africa to engage local government, civil society, and the private sector to develop the information infrastructures necessary to meet 21st century urban resilience challenges. The project is implemented through a unique partnership between GFDRR and the World Bank, city governments across the continent, and a partner community comprised of regional scientific and technology organizations, development partners, and technology companies. WEBSITE COUNTERPARTSCITIES National and Provincial Ministries, Municipal Offices and Local Development Committees ACCRA, Ghana ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo KAMPALA, Uganda KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo MONROVIA, Liberia NGAOUNDÉRÉ, Cameroon POINTE-NOIRE, Republic of Congo SAINT-LOUIS, Senegal SEYCHELLES ZANZIBAR CITY, Tanzania Overview As urban populations and vulnerability grow, managing urban growth in a way that fosters cities’ resilience to natural hazards and the impacts of climate change becomes a greater challenge that requires detailed, up-to-date geographic data of the built environment. Addressing this challenge requires innovative, open, and dynamic data collection and mapping processes that support management of urban growth and disaster risk. Success is often contingent on local capacities and networks to maintain and utilize risk information, enabling policy environments to support effective data management and sharing, and targeted tools that can help translate data into meaningful action. Building on the success of the global Open Data for Resilience Initiative, its work on Open Cities projects in South Asia, and GFDRR’s Code for Resilience, Open Cities Africa is carried out in 11 cities in Sub-Saharan Africa to engage local government, civil society, and the private sector to develop the information infrastructures necessary to meet 21st century urban resilience challenges. Following an application process, a small team of mappers, technologists, designers, and risk experts in each of the selected cities receive funding, targeted training, technical support, and mentorship throughout the year of work to: i) create and/or compile open spatial data on the built environment, critical infrastructure, and natural hazards; ii) develop targeted systems and tools to assist key stakeholders to utilize risk information; and iii) support local capacity-building and institutional development necessary for designing and implementing evidence-driven urban resilience interventions. Phases of Implementation 1. Plan and Assess In the first phase, Open Cities teams establish what data already exists and its openness, relevance and value. Project target area and data to collect are finalized. This phase is also when teams identify project partners and stakeholders to ensure that efforts are a participatory process. At the Open Cities Kick Off Meeting, teams meet with Open Cities leadership and the other Open Cities teams in their cohort and receive training on project components. 2. Map In this second phase, teams roll out the findings and data capture strategy developed in the first phase to address critical data gaps relevant to their specific Problem Statements. On the ground, teams coordinate field data collection according to the approach developed and agreed upon in consultation with project stakeholders. Depending on needs, tools for data collection may include smartphones or tablets, drones for the collection of high resolution imagery, or handheld GPS. As the project team is training team members to collect data for the project, efforts are made to develop, and/or strengthen the local OpenStreetMap community within the selected city working in partnership with local stakeholders. Project teams may hold trainings, mapathons, or community town halls in coordination with a local university, NGO or government counterparts. 3. Design In this third phase of the project, teams use the data collected in the Map Phase to design a tool or product to communicate the data to their stakeholders to support decision-making. Products vary widely depending on city context and may include a database and visualization tool, an atlas, a map series, or a mobile application. 4. Develop and Present In the final phase of the project, teams develop their tools/products and share results with targeted end user populations and other relevant stakeholders. Once final products are shared, teams work with project mentors and Open Cities Africa leadership to establish a sustainability plan and to explore opportunities for expansion or extension. This could include convening meetings with the World Bank, government counterparts, or the nongovernmental organization and donor communities. It may also include the development of concept notes, proposals or additional user research. Learn More           More information about the project and team activities can be found on the Open Cities Africa site.


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.


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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