Five consecutive typhoons struck the Philippines in late October and early November. Still recovering from damages brought about by Typhoon Molave (Quinta), Typhoon Goni (Rolly), Typhoon Atsani (Siony), and Typhoon Etau (Tonyo), the rain-drenched eastern and northern portions of the country endured excarbarated impacts from Typhoon Vamco (Ulysses), the fifth major storm to hit the region in just two weeks.
These typhoons left major roads impassable due to flooding and affected electrical and communication powers. Major dams in the country have reportedly worsened the flooding situations in the downstream areas of Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, the Cordillera Administrative Region and Metro Manila.
In the midst of the massive flooding situation, which paralyzed major thoroughfares and stranded thousands of Filipino commuters, hashtags #FloodPH and #RescuePH trended on social media, with people calling for help and posting information about the flood situation in their area. MapaKalamidad.ph, a recently launched disaster information sharing platform in the Philippines, is harnessing the active use of social media to support community-led risk reduction. Using AI-assisted chatbots to monitor and respond to social media posts, the platform gathers confirmed crowd-sourced reports from residents to map flooding in real-time. The platform experienced a significant increase in activity during Typhoon Ulysses as residents actively shared real-time situational updates about the flood. The free web-based map was used to support residents and disaster management units identify the areas that needed immediate response and rescue efforts. MapaKalamidad.ph was launched last September 2020 as part of the PhilAWARE Program with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs (USAID BHA) in partnership with the Philippine Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT).
According to Joseph Curry, from USAID BHA, “While we depend on the government to be the authoritative source on damages and needs, we also recognize that those affected have the most up to date information and have an essential role to play. MapaKalamidad.ph adds a new dimension to data and information collection by empowering citizens to directly report hazards, critical lifelines and damages in their neighbourhoods via social media apps and mobile apps. In the true spirit of bayanihan, MapaKalamidad.ph gives us a tool that everyone can use together in disaster response, potentially connecting every barangay right to the top.”
The unpredictable behavior of the recent typhoons have highlighted the necessity for verified real-time information to support response efforts in rapidly fluctuating conditions. As storms quickly changed course and floodwaters inundated the country, netizens shared the platform has a great potential in becoming the primary information source to share real-time flood map to make more informed decisions on safety and response.
MapaKalamidad.ph is currently available to residents in Quezon City and Pampanga where residents can share flood information anonymously by sending a Facebook message to @mapakalamidad, tweeting #flood or #baha to @mapakalamidad, or sending a Telegram message to @kalamidadbot. Government emergency management agencies also monitor the map to assess the disaster situation and respond to the needs of the residents.
With La Nina conditions expected to continue, heavy rainfall is expected throughout the region over the next few months. Yayasan Peta Bencana encourages residents of the Philippines to continue sharing critical information to help their neighbors, government agencies, and emergency responders in times of disaster events.
We remind everyone to check https://mapakalamidad.ph for up-to-date flood information to stay safe!
MapaKalamidad.ph is a part of the USAID DisasterAWARE Program for ASEAN Regional and National Capacity Development for Hazard Monitoring. MapaKalamidad.ph is made possible by the support of the American People through the USAID, and through collaboration with project partners including the Pacific Disaster Center at the University of Hawaii and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team; our implementing partners at the Office of Civil Defense, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Pampanga Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office; our data partners include Twitter and Mapbox.
“[PetaBencana.id] is a paradigmatic example of using the Internet to connect groups of people so they can share knowledge. [PetaBencana.id] confirms what we have long understood: expertise rooted in local knowledge and lived experience is widely distributed across society. Social platforms allow us to combine and scale this intelligence to aggregate knowledge, share work and increasingly, to solve problems collaboratively.”
A recent report published by The GovLab (an action research center based at New York University) and UK-based Nesta Foundation, features PetaBencana.id as one of 30 exemplary case studies demonstrating the commendable use of collective intelligence to address public challenges. As part of a larger undertaking of research on collective intelligence, the report argues that collective intelligence can support better and more inclusive public services. The research highlights case studies from around the world using technology to harness ideas and skills from the public, and presents this collaborative methodology as a critical component of addressing our most pressing challenges today. The full research documentation can be accessed at: https://www.thegovlab.org/collective-intelligence.html
Earlier this year, the GovLab also featured PetaBencana.id as part of their “Collective Crisis Intelligence” course. Initially launched to inform the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the free course includes lessons applicable for future disaster relief efforts. Each lecture features an organization that has successfully learned how to harness technology to engage public participation in emergency response.
PetaBencana.id is grateful to be featured among exemplary case studies from around the world, and we commend all residents of Indonesia for demonstrating the strength of shared intelligence in the spirit of gotong-royong! As demonstrated in many of these case studies, it is collaboration that enables practices of adaptation and endurance. PetaBencana.id is possible through the collaboration of several partners, and operates together with the larger ecosystem of disaster risk reduction tools and programs aimed to support disaster response. Funded by USAID BHA as a component of the Pacific Disaster Center’s InAWARE program, the platform is made possible through a collaboration with several partners including the Humanitarian Open Street Map Team, the National Emergency Management Agency (BNPB), the Jakarta Emergency Mangagement Agency (BPBD DKI Jakarta), Twitter, Mapbox, Qlue, and PasangMata. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively to continue to #ReduceRiskTogether!
MapaKalamidad.ph, a free and open source platform for emergency response and disaster management in the Philippines, was officially launched on September 10th, 2020 during a virtual webinar titled “Digital Bayanihan! Social Media for Humanitarian Response”. The platform uses both, crowd-sourced reporting and government agency validations, to map flood events in real-time.
During the opening remarks, Joseph Curry from the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, said, “While we depend on the government to be the authoritative source on damages and needs, we also recognize that those affected have the most up to date information and have an essential role to play. MapaKalamidad.ph adds a new dimension to data and information collection by empowering citizens to directly report hazards, critical lifelines and damages in their neighbourhoods via social media apps and mobile apps. In the true spirit of bayanihan, MapaKlamidad.ph gives us a tool that everyone can use together in disaster response, potentially connecting every barangay right to the top.”
Developed by Yayasan Peta Bencana (Disaster Map Foundation), a South-east Asian based non-profit organization, the platform draws on the award-winning crowd-sourced disaster mapping platform, PetaBencana.id in Indonesia. Powered by CogniCity Open Source Software (OSS), the PetaBencana.id platform has been used by millions of resident users since 2013, to make time-critical decisions about safety and navigation during emergency flood events in Indonesia. It has also been adopted by the National Emergency Management Agency (BNPB) to monitor disaster events, improve response times, and share time-critical emergency information with residents. Having proven beyond any doubt that community-led data collection, sharing, and visualization reduces disaster risk and assists in relief efforts, CogniCity OSS has now been developed to support real-time disaster mapping for the Philippines.
Featuring talks from Gil Francis Arevalo from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Bryan Damasco from the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Philippines, and Michael Vincent Mercardo from the Center of Disaster Preparedness, the webinar focused on the indispensable role of community-led response in mitigation and adaptation efforts.
In response to the launch of MapaKalamidad.ph, Asec Casiano C. Monilla from the Office of Civil Defense, said, “The contribution of social media and expansion of democratic space and public participation in govt activities and issues cannot be understated. It has been proven, time and again, that the successful disaster risk reduction and management endeavors depend on public support; co-owernship of the concepts of safety, preparedness and resilience. [MapaKalamidad.ph], which draws verified and reliable information through crowd sourcing on social media, is a very welcome development. Open mapping and information sharing through crowd sourcing enables people to not simply be audiences and recipients of systems and products, but also participants in the process of assisting communities and the government in reporting and responding to emergencies. This will translate to more lives safeguarded, properties and livelihoods protected, and development sustained.”
Now, any resident in Pampanga and Quezon City can submit a flood report anonymously by tweeting #flood or #baha @mapakalamidad, sending a Facebook message to @mapakalamidad, or sending a telegram message to @kalamidadbot. Government emergency management agencies also monitor the map to assess the disaster situation and respond to resident needs.
With current ENSO models indicating a trend towards La Nina conditions, above-normal rainfall is expected in the coming months. We remind everyone to check https://mapakalamidad.ph for up-to-date information and to stay safe!
MapaKalamidad.ph is a part of the USAID Program for ASEAN Regional and National Capacity Development for Hazard Monitoring, Early Warning, and Disaster Management Decision Support. As part of the Pacific Disaster Center’s PhilAWARE project, the project represents a multi-partner collaboration between the Philippines Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), Yayasan Peta Bencana, and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT). The project is made possible through collaboration with implementing partners Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction Mangagement Office (QCDRRMO) and Pampanga Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO), and data partners Twitter and Mapbox.
Powered by CogniCity Open Source Software, PetaBencana.id is a free web-based platform that produces megacity-scale visualizations of disasters using both crowd-sourced reporting and government agency validations in real time. The platform harnesses the heightened use of social media and instant messaging during emergency events to gather confirmed situational updates from street level, in a manner that removes the need for expensive and time consuming data processing. These verified user reports are displayed alongside relevant emergency data collected by local and government agencies. By integrating localized knowledge from a variety of sources into a single, robust platform, PetaBencana.id is able to provide a comprehensive overview of disaster events, enabling residents, humanitarian agencies, and government agencies to make more informed decisions during emergencies.
Since its debut in 2013 (as PetaJakarta.org), the PetaBencana.id platform has been used by millions of resident users to make time-critical decisions about safety and navigation during emergency flood events; it has also been adopted by the National Emergency Management Agency (BNPB) to monitor flood events, improve response times, and share time-critical emergency information with residents. The platform has enabled greater information sharing and data coordination among residents and government agencies, fostering equitable and collaborative resilience to climate change.
PetaBencana.id has proven that community-led data collection, sharing, and visualization reduces flood risk and assists in relief efforts. In the 2015 World Disaster Report of the International Federation of the Red Cross, the project was recommended as a model for community engagement in relation to disaster response. In 2016, the Federal Communication Commission of the United States also recommended the project as a best practice regarding disaster information crowdsourcing. PetaBencana.id is now available for all residents in Indonesia!
Mahtani N. and E. Turpin. “Neuroecologies of Attention & Intelligence in the Megacity: Learning with PetaBencana.id,” in Perspecta 51: Becoming Media The Yale Architectural Journal, November 2018.
Mahtani, Nashin. “Impressions of Disaster: Neuroscience, Design, and Attention
in Post-Internet Indonesia,” in e-flux Architecture, August, 2017.
Turpin, E., and T. Holderness. “From Social Media to GeoSocial Intelligence: Experiments with Crowdsourcing Civic Co-Management for Flood Response in Jakarta, Indonesia,” in Social Media for Government Services, eds. Surya Nepal, Cécile Paris, Dimitrios Georgakopoulos (Springer, 2016).
Holderness, T., and E. Turpin, “How tweeting about floods became a civic duty in Jakarta,” in The Guardian, Public Leaders Network, 25 January 2016.
Holderness T. and E. Turpin. “Floods in Jakarta? Tweeting Now,” in Strategic Review 5.1(October-December 2015): 26-35.
Holderness T., and E. Turpin. PetaJakarta.org: Assessing the Role of Social Media for Civic
Co-Management During Monsoon Flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia, SMART Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong, GeoSocial Intelligence Working Group White Paper 01 (June 2015).
Turpin, E., T. Holderness, and G. Quaggiotto. “Combining ‘Big’ and ‘Small’ Data to Build Urban Resilience in Jakarta,” United Nations Global Pulse Blog, April 2014.
Turpin, E., A. Bobbette, and M. Miller, eds. Jakarta: Architecture + Adaptation (Depok: Universitas Indonesia Press, 2013).
The PetaBencana.id community is made up of a diverse group of volunteers, local community leaders, and professionals dedicated to building capacities for community-based disaster co-management. There are a number of ways to get involved!
Support open data & open software for climate adaptation:
Help us keep the map running as a free platform, so that everyone in Indonesia can have access to time critical information!
To donate via wire transfer, please email email@example.com.
Become a Sustaining Partner:
Partner with Yayasan Peta Bencana to increase employee engagement and Corporate Social Responsibility Programs! We also work with organisations to provide customized alerts to ensure the safety of your belongings and staff.
Become a Risk Ambassador:
Are you passionate about spreading disaster awareness and increasing preparedness in your communities? Sign up to become a risk ambassador – no experience needed, we will provide you the support you need!
Technology and Training:
Yayasan Peta Bencana provides training to organizations, embassies, schools, and volunteer communities. Through digital literacy workshops we provide the necessary skills to safely and easily access and share time-critical information – leveraging capacities for everyone to participate in critical decision-making and boost community resilience. We can customize training to meet the needs of your organization.
Sign up for a training by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Bring the crowd-sourced disaster mapping platform to your location:
The platform is now being further developed to address additional hazards and other geographies in South East Asia. If you would like to see a crowd-sourced disaster mapping platform implemented in your area, please contact us at email@example.com.
Contact us for current volunteer activities, or if you would like to get involved in other ways! We would love to hear from you!