Learning from Lombok and Palu: A multi-stakeholder workshop to build disaster preparedness and reduce disaster risk

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Lombok in July and a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Sulawesi in September, left significant destruction, damage, and loss.

Over the last few months, Yayasan Peta Bencana has been speaking with disaster managers, emergency response teams, community volunteer groups, and student volunteers who experienced the events or were directly involved in their aftermath, in order to learn about the biggest challenges faced.

Difficulties in delivering aid and difficulties for evacuation, largely arose due to a lack of access to timely information. A lack of real-time situational updates about access conditions amplified confusion and risk on the islands;  response teams were unable to reach shelters and victims due to unexpected disruptions to access. Residents trying to evacuate faced similar challenges.

The real-time flood map,, has proven that crowdsourced information sharing reduces disaster risk and assists in relief efforts. Recognizing the value of community-led data collection, sharing, and visualization, Yayasan Peta Bencana is now working on expanding the map to support other disaster events, including earthquakes.

As part of our efforts to develop a disaster mapping platform for earthquakes, Yayasan Peta Bencana has been engaging in processes of co-design and co-research with a wide variety of stakeholders. In November 2018, we held a research/design workshop in collaboration with Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS). The workshop – which brought together government emergency disaster managers, journalists, students, academics, volunteer groups, community leaders, and climate agencies – provided a multi-perspective insight into strategies for earthquake response and disaster preparedness as participants shared their unique concerns, experiences, and knowledges.

In order to stimulate discussion, the workshop was structured as a game based on real scenarios experienced during the recent earthquakes. The game was successful in encouraging participants to become quickly involved in evaluating informational flows, identifying key gaps, and discussing opportunities to support response using crowdsourced information.

We were very excited to see that at the end of the workshop, very different stakeholder groups (who shared that they otherwise would not have the opportunity to speak together) were exchanging contacts; participants expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to learn from diverse groups, and were eager to build capacities to work more closely together in preparedness for future events.

Yayasan Peta Bencana Engages with Red Cross Indonesia Volunteer Corps

quote open    … is a useful tool to build resilience at a community level as it provides a way to easily share time critical information of flood affected areas with various communities and neighborhoods. The ability to share flood information without having to download a new application or register a username is a unique and highly effective way to crowd-source disaster information and build a network of active resident reporters… quote close

On August 11th, 2018 Yayasan conducted a workshop for PMI Korps Suka Rela (Red Cross Indonesia Volunteer Corps). 51 participants attended the workshop, representing over 13 different universities from Semarang. The workshop was opened by Mr Bambang Kristiyono, as a representative of the Semarang PMI office. Mr Kristiyono shared the enthusiasm of PMI in hosting the workshop, as they were excited to have a platform through which their network could easily share flood information in real-time. He mentioned that this would not only support their own response efforts, but also provide a way to easily share time critical information of flood affected areas with various communities and neighborhoods, thereby helping to build resilience at a community level as well.

During a hands on training session, participants were eager to test various methods of reporting flood information to the platform, as they were active on many social media channels already integrated into

Participants commented specifically on the ease of reporting through, mentioning that the ability to share flood information without having to download a new application or register a username, was unique, highly effective and would enable the platform to enroll a wide network of resident reporters who would be encouraged to share flood information in an uncumbersome way.

During the session, participants were also eager to learn about the mechanisms of verifying crowd-sourced reports, raising questions about how the platform ensures the validity of data. Intrigued by the verification methods employed by, participants requested the integration of additional social media channels and requested for the platform to expand to other hazards.

Participants were eager to spread the use of the platform with their own networks, expressing the value of sharing the use of crowd-sourced data for building community resilience


Yayasan Peta Bencana Engages with Local Community Volunteer Groups in Semarang

quote open    …The ease of reporting through will enable more efficient reporting, and allow us to respond more effectively to flood events. quote close

To continue building a growing network of active resident reporters and encourage effective sharing of disaster information in Semarang, Yayasan Peta Bencana is conducting workshops and outreach events with a range of communities active in the disaster management ecosystem in preparation for the upcoming monsoon season.

On August 10th, 2018, Yayasan Peta Bencana conducted a workshop with Semarang’s Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD Kota Semarang) network of volunteer communities. During disaster events, these independent community groups coordinate with BPBD Kota Semarang to aid in immediate first response efforts before the agency is able to deliver formal response. They also serve as key points of contact between the regional disaster management agency and the residents in their respective communities. These groups are active in raising disaster awareness within the local communities in which they are formed.

35 participants attended the workshop, representing a total of 18 different community volunteer groups, ranging from police volunteer groups, scout volunteer groups, first response volunteer groups, youth volunteer groups, village volunteer groups, disability volunteer groups, and regional search and rescue teams.

Yayasan Peta Bencana also held a workshop for BPBD Kota Semarang’s network of volunteers from the Kelurahan Siaga Bencana (Disaster Prepared Village) community group. In Semarang, each village is represented by a volunteer who acts as a first responder within that village in the event of a flood and also acts as the main point of contact between BPBD Kota Semarang and residents, responsible for reporting the on-the-ground situation. These volunteers are trained directly by BPBD Kota Semarang to manage disasters at the village level. As critical actors in Semarang’s disaster management ecosystem, it was great to be able to extend the socialization of the platform to this group, and share how could support more effective disaster reporting.

41 participants representing 39 different villages in Semarang, attended the workshop.

Over the course of both workshops, participants shared their inputs on the platform and on the use of crowd-sourced reporting for flood resilience. Participants raised questions about how the platform ensured the validity of crowd sourced reports, and responded positively when they learned the verification methods employed by Participants expressed that the confirmed incidents of flooding displayed on would be useful to support evidence-based action and response. Participants expressed that the ease of reporting through would enable more efficient reporting, thereby facilitating volunteers in responding more effectively to flood events.

Excited by the prospects of utilizing crowd-sourced reports to support timely disaster management in the city, participants also expressed interest for the platform to address additional hazards.


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 in our 2017 Scrapbook!







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).

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Become a Sustaining Partner: is available as a free online risk map, accessible to any resident in Indonesia to view and share accurate information in real time during emergencies. As the Foundation strives for economic sustainability, we are now proud to offer customized flood alerts to our Sustaining Partners in Indonesia.

Customized flood alerts help to further ensure the safety of employees and family members. Staying notified helps to avoid locations of flooded areas; thereby staying safe, saving time, and minimizing personal and business losses. Contact us to find out more.

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Bring to Your Location: has been used by millions of resident users, government and non-government agencies, and local and international NGOs to increase resilience, minimize loss, and co-ordinate response during emergency events. The platform is now being further developed to address additional hazards and other geographies in Indonesia. If you would like to see implemented in your area, please contact us or you can schedule a meeting here.