In the past few years, there has been a meteoric rise of locally organized OpenStreetMap communities in developing countries working to improve the map in service of sustainable development activities.
The Open Data for Resilience Initiative supports the HaitiData GeoNode for disaster risk management.
Through the Open Data for Resilience project, The World Bank, GFDRR, and other partners are supporting efforts to map areas at risk before a disaster strikes.
•In the six months following the April 2015 earthquake, OpenStreetMap data for Nepal was accessed by more than 3,300 users using a GFDRR platform that tailored the data for response and recovery.
•Urban areas around the world, including cities in Indonesia, Philippines, Malawi and Bangladesh, are a major focus of mapping efforts.
When I first heard about OpenStreetMap (OSM) – the so called Wikipedia of maps, built by volunteers around the world – I was skeptical of its ability to scale, usability in decision making, and ultimate longevity among new ideas conceived in the digital age. Years later, having working on many disaster risk management initiatives across the globe, I can say that I am a passionate advocate for the power of this community. And I continue to be struck by the power of one small initiative like OSM that brings together people across cultures and countries to save lives. It is more than a technology or a dataset, it’s a global community of individuals committed to making a difference.
People may be surprised to find that the maps we take for granted in metropolitan areas of the developed world may be completely absent, vastly out of date, or pay-per-view in the developing world. Imagine an urban area without a transportation network, government agencies without access to the location of their assets (schools, health facilities, etc), or even a map without village names. This is the reality for many of the countries most vulnerable to disaster risk. Now, imagine this urban area facing an unprecedented crisis brought by flooding, an earthquake, a pandemic – think about the challenges of planning a response.
According to Marc Forni of The World Bank, they can. Find out how the Open Cities project became a key platform for building resilience in this blog post from November 2014.
In 2014, Robert Soden reflected on the progress The World Bank and GFDRR made by becoming involved in the world of crowd sourced mapping. Now with a fully fledged program that leads dozens of projects worldwide and a host of strong partnerships, it is powerful to step back into his article and see where we’ve been and where OpenDRI has the potential to go.
We are kicking off our Caribbean Open Data for Resilience (OpenDRI) Webinar Series on Wednesday, March 26 at 2:30 pm ET! This webinar, Data for Post-Disaster Decision-Making in Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, will focus on the Rapid Damage and Loss Assessment (DaLA) conducted in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the rapid disaster impact needs assessment conducted in Saint Lucia following the heavy rains that occurred on December 25, 2013.
From Indonesia to Nepal, Haiti to Malawai, community members armed with smartphones and GPS systems are contributing to some of the most extensive and versatile maps ever created, helping inform policy and better prepare their communities for disaster risk.
This post is a summary of one that appeared on the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery Site and was originally authored by Christina Irene.