News collaborates with NASA, BNPB, government agencies, and residents in response to historic 2020 flood event

Residents and government agencies share real-time flood information on during the January 2020 flood in Jakarta. Crowd-sourced reports through the platform have supported efforts for response, planning, and analysis.

In January 2020, record-breaking rainfall inundated Jakarta with more water than its infrastructures were able to cope with. Severe flooding affected large parts of the city, resulting in dozens of casualties and thousands of displaced residents. 

Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) attributed the unusually intense rainfall to a convergence of wind patterns, and warned of more frequently occurring extreme weather events as a result of climate change. The agency recorded 377 mm of rain, the highest daily volume Jakarta has experienced since records began in 1866. 

As rising waters blocked roads, shut down one of the city’s airports, and cut off electricity, millions of residents continued to search for and share up-to-date information through various social media channels. Thousands of residents submitted flood reports to, informing each other about the severity of the flood, infrastructure failures, and response efforts. experienced a 24,000% increase in activity as residents actively checked the web map to understand the flooding situation, avoid flooded areas, and make decisions about safety and response. The Jakarta Emergency Management Agency (BPBD DKI Jakarta) monitored the map to respond to resident needs, coordinate response, and also updated the real-time map with information about flood affected neighborhoods. 

Agus Wibowo, Head of the Center for Data, Information and Public Relations at the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), urged residents to share flood reports through, iterating the significance of information sharing and community-based disaster response.

Head of BNPB Pusdalops, Bambang Surya Putra, said that was very useful in enabling his team to monitor disaster events and in providing a greater understanding of events to all residents.

Jakarta residents also acknowledged the increase in response times due to two-way information sharing through the platform. Chaidir A. Adlan, Jakarta resident, said “ is providing actionable insight for BPBD and rescue teams. It’s the best available approach to date.”

Flood data from was also used by NASA to calibrate satellite flood maps with crowd-sourced ground observations, in order to support flood analysis and planning efforts. In an article published by NASA, Dr. Sang-Ho Yun, lead of disaster response for NASA’s Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explains the significance of corroborating satellite overviews with on-the-ground crowdsourced reporting in order to map flood extents.

“This is the first time that we were able to rapidly generate a flood proxy map from so many satellite scenes and calibrate it with ground observations,” said Yun. “This is really important for mapping flood extent in urban areas.”

The spirit of gotong-royong displayed through these difficult times is a testament to the strength of community-led information sharing, supporting response and planning efforts at multiple scales. Yayasan Peta Bencana thanks all residents of Indonesia for continuing to share critical information, and applauds the indispensable role of all residents in helping neighbors, government agencies, responders, and researchers develop strategies for climate adaptation. 

Heavy rains are expected to continue throughout the monsoon season. Residents of Jakarta, Surabaya, Semarang, and Bandung can submit real-time flood reports by tweeting #banjir @petabencana, sending a Facebook message to, or send a Telegram message to @bencanabot. We remind everyone to check for up-to-date information and to stay safe!

Agus Wibowo of the National Emergency Management Agency (BNBP) (left), Ayu Kartika Dewi of the Presidential Staff Office (middle), and PERMIAS Indonesian Students Association (right) recommend residents to share flood information through during the January 2020 floods in Jakarta
Jakarta Smart City uses data from to update the Pantau Banjir application, using the map as a base map to add shelter locations. is a platform run by Yayasan Peta Bencana as a free, transparent platform for emergency response and disaster management in megacities in South and Southeast Asia. is a part of the USAID BNPB InAWARE: Disaster Management Early Warning and Decision Support Capacity Enhancement Project in Indonesia. receives 2019 Better Together Challenge Award!

Hosted by World Culture Open, the 2019 Better Together Challenge invited thinkers, activists, changemakers, scientists, and creatives from around the world to share diverse projects addressing some of today’s most pressing social issues. Held on the grounds of the historic 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, the 3-day gathering was attended by over 300 people. The Challenge provided an open stage where 30 finalists, selected from over 1200 projects and 122 countries, were invited to share their stories in a unique contest format. Based on public voting from hundreds of audience voters and a special jury panel, 6 projects were awarded the final 2019 Better Together Challenge award. We are excited to share that was among the final winners, awarded with the 2nd place prize! 

The 1st place prize was awarded to Korean finalist Sangho Yi, founder of, for using 3D printing technologies to develop affordable electronic prosthetics for amputees. Other award winners included Eseyam Nyador, founder of Miss Taxi, a female-driven taxi service in Ghana; Momal Mushtaq, founder of The Freedom Traveller; Jiyeoung Lee, conserving and spreading awareness about the forests in Gotjawal; Camilo Herrera founder of Litro de Luz, developing infrastructures for communities in conflict zones to mitigate electric exclusion; and Abdul Wahab and Haejin Kim from Help Syria, an organization helping Syrian refugees. 

Finalists shared diverse experiences and projects including upskilling programs in conflict-affected communities, empowering residents with land and property rights information to reduce land conflicts in Uganda, sustainable methods of honey production to empower rural communities in Zambia, developing accessible technologies to support agriculture and food security in East Africa, among many others. 

The 3-day event included workshops and talks by Dave Hakkens (named as one of MIT Technology Review’s Innovators under 35 Europe 2017), Raed Alsaleh (Head of The White Helmets organization providing humanitarian support in Syria, and named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2017), Pyeongchang Mayor Han Wang-Gi, President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach, among many others. 

We are grateful to have had the opportunity to share our story and learn from so many inspiring projects around the world! We are honored by the recognition and grateful to be able to share this award with all project partners including USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), as well as with all residents of Indonesia and contributors to the platform for reducing risk together! is a platform run by Yayasan Peta Bencana as a free, transparent platform for emergency response and disaster management in megacities in South and Southeast Asia. is a part of the USAID BNPB InAWARE: Disaster Management Early Warning and Decision Support Capacity Enhancement Project in Indonesia.

Yayasan Peta Bencana Collaborates on Upcoming Risk Reduction Initiatives in the Philippines

As part of the “ASEAN Regional Disaster Management Early Warning and Decision Support Capacity Enhancement Project”, we spent the week in Manila with our partners USAID, the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) to kickstart the development of a crowd sourced disaster mapping platform for the Philippines. The initiative was officially launched on July 23, 2019, at an initial kick-off event attended by over 30 agencies including government organizations, NGOs, and private sector agencies.

Since its implementation in 2013 (formerly known as, has proven that community-led data collection, sharing, and visualization reduces hazard risk and assists in relief efforts. The Philippines shares many of the key characteristics that have made a successful crowd-sourced hazard mapping platform in Indonesia. Geographically, it is also located in the ring of fire, and like many ASEAN countries, it has been affected by weather events which are becoming increasingly extreme and unpredictable due to climate change. Typhoons, floods, and landslides have been particularly destructive, and the Philippines is among the countries that have withstood the greatest socioeconomic hits in their wake.

Perhaps the most striking similarity that we have noticed however, is the spirit of mutual aid during disasters – more commonly known as gotong royong in Indonesia and bayanihan in the Philippines. The active spirit of coming together during disaster events, coupled with the fact that the country has the highest rates of social media usage in the world, sets up an ideal environment for developing a real-time information sharing platform to enhance capacities for civic-co management, increase coordination between residents and government agencies, and quicken response times during disasters.

We were thrilled to see the excitement of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), among other government agencies and NGOs, at the launch of this initiative. We look forward to working with all our partners and the residents of the Philippines to reduce risk together in the ASEAN region!


Powered by CogniCity Open Source Software, 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, 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, the 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.

Currently supporting a coverage area with over 50 million residents in Jabodetabek, Surabaya, and Bandung, 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. is now being further developed to address additional hazards and other geographies in Indonesia.

Find out more about who we are, how we started, and how we work!



Mahtani N. and E. Turpin. “Neuroecologies of Attention & Intelligence in the Megacity: Learning with,” 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. 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).

Get Involved

The 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!

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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.

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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!

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


Contact us for current volunteer activities, or if you would like to get involved in other ways! We would love to hear from you!