OpenStreetMap(OSM): A tool Providing cost effective ways for disaster response teams suffering from low institutional capacity…

Collection, visualization, and sharing of information on disasters and disaster risk provide a basis for strengthening disaster resilience and supporting timely post-disaster response, recovery, and reconstruction efforts. For example, base maps (identifying the location of key infrastructure, and critical assets), hazard risk maps, and evacuation maps are necessary for planning interventions related to disaster risk reduction, including activities related to disaster preparedness. Similarly, information from post-disaster damage assessment is important for guiding activities in response, recovery, and rehabilitation phases, such as rescuing affected communities, providing relief, and developing required recovery and reconstruction plans.

OpenStreetMap (OSM), a method of community-based mapping using satellite imagery and ICT tools, used to develop base maps necessary for planning and prioritizing DRM-related interventions. ICT tools such as mobile phone applications developed to support this mapping approach. OSM provides simple access to its entire database under open license, which is useful for community-based mapping and data sharing in the event of a disaster, as well as in humanitarian and international development work. Since OSM relies on the local community to develop and update detailed base maps, it has become an effective mechanism to strengthen community-based DRM.

Satellite-based damage assessment is becoming a conventional procedure in post-disaster situations to collect rapid and objective damage information cost-effectively. By combining satellite-based damage maps with baseline OSM data, quick and remote identification of disaster locations and the extent of damage, such as the number of damaged buildings categorized by type can be obtained for early emergency response planning of humanitarian rescue, delivery of goods, and effective budget mobilization.

International cooperation mechanisms to share free satellite imagery and analyze maps in the event of disasters have already been established, with many DMCs as members of the community. However, these data remained underutilized at the local level because of issues such as lack of awareness on the availability of such data, difficulties in data access with no internet connection after a disaster, and lack of coordination among government agencies to share baseline GIS data necessary for effective analysis.

Assistance is needed to improve capacity to collect and share reliable and timely disaster related data at the local NGO’s, local government and community levels to strengthen their disaster resilience and support timely post-disaster response, recovery, and reconstruction efforts in a more cost-effective manner. These will provide cost-effective ways for disaster response team that suffer from low institutional capacity to collect and share information on disasters and disaster risk.