Monthly Archives: September 2014

Disaster Mapping Support from Heidelberg

When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in late 2013, students and lecturers of Heidelberg Universitie’s department of Geography gathered to provide live crisis mapping support.

Here are some cross-posts of the activities that were carried out:

Mapping Events:

“On Thursday Nov. 14th Andreas Reimer together with collegues from the GIScience Group organized a Mapathon to support crisis mapping in OpenStreetMap after Typhoon Haiyan. First a theoretical introduction into crisis mapping in general and OSM in particular for the students of the introductionary courses in Cartography and Geoinformatics at the Department of Geography and further interested persons was given by Andreas, Pascal, Svend and Joao. This also included a live video introduction to the relevant tasks to be performed by the OSM H.O.T main coordinator for the Haiyan disaster Andrew Buck. Thanks for joining us from remote!”

– Crisis Mapping Services:

Colleagues of the GIScience department at Heidelberg University set up a “Philippines Crisis Map“. This map service inegrated layers showing elements at risk and damaged buildings based on OpenStreetMap tags, as well as a layer showing the distribution of Instagram feeds in the region.

The efforts evoked a strong response in the german media. Radio broadcasters and newspapers reported on the Mapping Events:

Article by “Die Zeit”

Local radio report

Radio report by “1live”

The crisis mapping efforts from Heidelberg revealed something very interesting and promising. Lecturers and students were working together towards one goal. Some barriers which exist sometimes between students and their professors could be dissolved through joint initiatives such as mapping events. Moreover, students could apply their mapping skills and learn more about humanitarian work and crisis mapping.

As part of our newly founded disaster mapping initiative, we will be working towards integrating disaster mapping more into the academic context and building stronger relationships with humanitarian organizations to bridge the gap between research and practice right from the beginning.

Way to go!