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.
In Jakarta, more than 500 community members have been trained to collect data on thousands of hospitals, schools, private buildings, and critical infrastructure. In Sri Lanka, government and academic volunteers mapped over 30,000 buildings and 450 km of roadways using a collaborative online resource called OpenStreetMaps.
These are just a few of the projects that have been catalyzed by the Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI), developed by the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). Launched in 2011, OpenDRI is active in more than 20 countries today, mapping tens of thousands of buildings and urban infrastructure, providing more than 1,000 geospatial datasets to the public, and developing innovative application tools.
To expand this work, the World Bank Group has launched the OpenDRI Field Guide as a showcase of successful projects and a practical guide for governments and other organizations to shape their own open data programs.
“Economic losses from natural disasters have risen from $50 billion each year in the 1980s to just under $200 billion each year in the last decade; about three-quarters of those losses are a result of extreme weather,” said Rachel Kyte, World Bank Group vice president and special envoy for climate change, who launched the guide at a Climate Data Initiative event in Washington. “This field guide will enable our many partners to better incorporate the values of the open data community into their efforts to build climate and disaster resilience.”
The field guide walks readers through the steps to build open data programs based on the OpenDRI methodology. One of the first steps is data collation. Relevant datasets are often locked because of proprietary arrangements or fragmented in government bureaucracies. The field guide explores tools and methods to enable the participatory mapping projects that can fill in gaps and keep existing data relevant as cities rapidly expand.