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DRR

Crowd-Source Mapping and Disaster Relief: How are GPS and satellite images helping Nepal post quake?

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Crowd-Source Mapping and Disaster Relief: How are GPS and satellite images helping Nepal post quake?

As humanitarian organizations flock to Nepal after the devastation of two earthquakes, one organization is making waves through the work of thousands of people from thousands of miles away. You might assume that this work is being done through monetary donations, but rather it is through donations of time and attention. OpenStreetMaps is described as a project to create a free and open map of the entire world, built entirely by volunteers surveying with GPS, digitizing aerial imagery, and collecting and liberating existing public sources of geographic data. The information in OpenStreetMap can fill in the gaps in base map data to assist in responses to disasters and crisis. As the OSM wiki page states: When there is a humanitarian crisis, such as the Nepal earthquake, OpenStreetMap (OSM) volunteers from around the world rapidly digitize satellite imagery to provide maps and data to support humanitarian organizations deployed to the affected countries. It is the largest crowd sourced mapping project on the internet and the need for it only continues to grow.

OSM gained much popularity and attention while working in Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake. The goal is not only to create better and more accurate maps after disasters, but to be better prepared for future disasters and thus reduce the threats they pose. As the Humanitarian OSM Team (HOT) states, “Nobody would argue that data preparedness is better than a scramble after an event.”

Since the first earthquake occurred on April 25th, 2015, OSM reports that 4,826 citizen mappers have made 113,141 changes to the map.These OSM volunteers help to create accurate and detailed maps that include roads, villages, important landmarks, and areas most affected.  By partnering with relief organizations, HOT can use this information to assess where aid is needed most and how to most effectively deliver that aid.

Want to find out more or become an OSM volunteer? Visit the links below:

http://tasks.hotosm.org/project/1030

http://hotosm.org/get-involved

http://hotosm.org/updates/2015-05-01_nepal_earthquake_we_have_maps

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Stockholm Environment Institute: Could Sweden take the lead in promoting a more proactive approach to disaster risk reduction in international policy?

In the 2014 Policy Report Water and Risk: Developing Sustainable and Resilient Communities published by SEI, Research Fellow Ase Johannessen calls upon Sweden to take the lead in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policy. Sweden already plays a very influential role in international policy and DRR efforts, thus is in an ideal position to strengthen its authority.

The Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) plan created in 2005 is due to expire this year, thus creating the need for a new agenda for Disaster Risk Reduction. This new plan will need to reinterpret risk reduction. As Johannessen states, “To create the further reduction of risk, DRR needs to become an integral part of development, and not an add-on separated from it.” In summary, this means building resilience and being able to better predict, adapt to, and learn from disasters rather than simply react to them.

“To build on past efforts and take the opportunity to become a leading player, it is crucial that Sweden develops a policy statement providing a comprehensive approach to resilience building, focusing on the integration of DRR into development aid programming. This is crucial to ensuring that long term development is safeguarded from disasters by addressing underlying causes of risk, and that development and humanitarian programs do not create new forms of vulnerability and risk. Swedish actors with expertise in resilience and DRR need to be actively consulted and involved in the formulation of such policy.”


Visit the SEI website to read the SEI 2015-2019 Strategic Plan

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