News awarded a 2018 Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention!


quote open is recognized by Ars Electronica for demonstrating the latest developments in social software, building community action and interaction, strengthening the role and ability for civic participation, and promoting social innovation as well as cultural and environmental sustainability through internet technology.        quote close

On June 11th, 2018 Ars Electronica announced the winners of the 2018 Prix Ars Electronica competition, awarding with an honorary mention.

Recognized as the “world’s most time-honored media arts competition”, the Prix Ars Electronica was launched in 1987 by Ars Electronica co-founder Hannes Leopoldseder. The prize awards projects displaying excellence in seven categories: Computer Animation, Interactive Art, Digital Communities, Digital Musics and Sound Art, Hybrid Art,  and u-19 Create Your World (a category for kids up to age 19). Previous winners of the prestigious prize have included Pixar in 1987, Wikipedia in 2004, and Wikileaks in 2009.

This year 3,046 entries from 85 countries were submitted for the Prix Ars Electronica Prize. was one among 12 projects that received honorable mentions for the Digital Communities category. ‘Digital Communities’ recognizes projects that demonstrate the latest developments in social software, build community action and interaction, strengthen the role and ability for civic participation, and promote social innovation as well as cultural and environmental sustainability through internet technology. is a free and open source platform for crowd-sourced flood reporting in Indonesia. The platform gathers confirmed reports of flooding from various social media channels and visualizes them on a free web-based map in real-time. In order to filter through the noise of social media the software listens for specific keywords in social media posts (such as “flood”) and deploys a “humanitarian chatbot” that initiates AI-assisted conversations with residents to collect verified disaster reports. These reports are displayed on a free public map in real-time, alongside relevant emergency data issued by local agencies. Emergency managers monitor the platform to assess the situation, respond to resident needs, and, as part of a transparent two-way communication system, update the map with time-critical information to alert residents to flood in their neighbourhood. The publicly available map is used by residents, government officials, and first responders to stay informed about changing flood conditions across the country, in order to prepare for and respond to emergency events. Since its debut in 2014 the platform has been used by over half a million residents during monsoon flooding. has proven that community-led data collection and visualization reduces disaster risk, increases emergency response times, and assists in relief efforts. Currently supporting a coverage area with over 50 million residents in Jabodetabek, Surabaya, and Bandung, is now being further developed to address additional hazards and other geographies in Indonesia. is part of an ongoing collaboration among several research, implementing, and data partners. Co-directed by Dr. Etienne Turpin and Dr. Tomas Holderness, the platform was initially launched in 2014 (as as a collaboration among the SMART Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong, the Jakarta Emergency Management Agency and Twitter Inc. In 2016, the platform relaunched as (Disaster Map Indonesia) in collaboration with the Urban Risk Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Pacific Disaster Center of the University of Hawaii, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, and Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (Indonesia’s National Emergency Management Agency). In January 2018, Yayasan Peta Bencana [Disaster Map Indonesia] was established as a non-profit organization to facilitate the scaling of local efforts and incorporate additional hazards. The project currently also works in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, Across the Cloud, USER Group Inc, Jakarta Smart City, Qlue, Pasang Mata (Detik), and the Nature Conservancy. The project is currently supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the American Red Cross.

The platform is powered by open source software known as CogniCity – a GeoSocial Intelligence Framework that allows data to be collected and disseminated through location-enabled mobile devices using social media networks. The CogniCity software is currently also being used to map flooding in India, the United States, and Vietnam. Paints Street Art for Monsoon Preparedness in Indonesia – Part Two!

On February 4th 2018, the Peta Bencana Foundation transformed the Fatahillah Square at Kota Tua (Old Town Jakarta) with an anamorphic street art installation. Located along the east bank of the Ciliwung river and surrounded by the Jakarta History Museum, Puppetry Museum, and Fine Art & Ceramics Museum, the square heavily fills up with residents, visitors, artisans, and jugglers on car-free-day Sunday mornings. Peta Bencana took this opportunity to meet with thousands of users, as well as to engage with new audiences and launch the second of a series of disaster preparedness events for the 2017/2018 monsoon season. (Read more about our first event here!)

As passers-by stopped to take selfies with the street art installation, they were reminded to continue to share their selfies with during the monsoon season, and contribute to real-time community flood-mapping. gathers confirmed crowd-sourced reports about flooding from various social media channels and visualizes these on a free web-based map, so that everyone has the information they need to stay safe and avoid danger during flood events. This information is shared with emergency management agencies, who are also able to update the map with time-critical flood-related information, creating a transparent two-way communication channel for everyone in the city. The Jakarta Emergency Management Agency (BPBD DKI Jakarta) also took this opportunity to spread awareness about their disaster management programs to the Car Free Day visitors.

We were excited to see thousands of residents engaging with community art to spread messages of awareness and solidarity in preparedness for the forthcoming monsoon. The installation demonstrated the effectiveness of art installations in communicating, reaching, and engaging a wide and varied demographic.

One visitor commented: “This is a great example of how community-based art can be used for disaster preparedness in a fun and engaging way. What a great community-building and teaching tool as well!”

It was a great opportunity to hear the stories and experiences of the thousands of residents who already use, as well as to reach thousands of new users who expressed great interest in learning about the platform and displayed an enthusiasm towards adopting the platform to improve safety for the upcoming monsoon season. We were also encouraged by conversations with residents visiting from other cities in Indonesia, who expressed an eagerness to see the platform expand to their locations!

As the crowd collected and conversations grew, passers-by quickly displayed an increased enthusiasm as they begun to share their own stories and experiences of disaster preparedness.

Seeing the success of the combined power of the selfie, social media, and community-art installations in public spaces in supporting community-based resilience, we look forward to hosting the next event! Stay tuned to find out more!

Peta Bencana Production Receives Commending Review from Award Winning Art Blog

quote open    …i’d like to share a video i found so eye-opening and powerful that it deserves to be singled out in a post…I thought i knew about the havoc that palm oil plantations are wreaking on the environment, i had no idea it was this bad (burning an area the size of my country in only 5 months!!)        quote close

Peta Bencana’s science outreach has received an honorable acclaim from Régine Debatty, critic and founder of the award winning blog,   In a review about the Verschwindende Vermächtnisse: Die Welt als Wald / Disappearing Legacies: The World as a Forest exhibition,  Debatty singles out a video produced by the Peta Bencana Foundation, for its effectiveness in powerfully conveying the impacts of peatland destruction and the importance of peatland ecologies for the Earth System and its climate. As part of the foundation’s commitment to building infrastructures for mutual aid through processes of collaborative co-research, the Peta Bencana foundation worked with research scientists at Friends of the Earth Indonesia (WALHI) and Akademi Drone Indonesia to produce this art/science outreach project. The Verschwindende Vermächtnisse: Die Welt als Wald / Disappearing Legacies: The World as a Forest exhibition is currently on display at the Zoologisches Museum, Centrum für Naturkunde, Universität Hamburg.





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).

Get Involved

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.

Fund 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.

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.