Live Crisis Map of Disaster Damage Reported on Social Media

Update: See early results of MicroMappers deployment here

Digital humanitarian volunteers have been busing tagging images posted to social media in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. More specifically, they’ve been using the new MicroMappers ImageClicker to rate the level of damage they see in each image. Thus far, they have clicked over 7,000 images. Those that are tagged as “Mild” and “Severe” damage are then geolocated by members of the Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF) who have partnered with GISCorps and ESRI to create this live Crisis Map of the disaster damage tagged using the ImageClicker. The map takes a few second to load, so please be patient.

YolandaPH Crisis Map 1

The more pictures are clicked using the ImageClicker, the more populated this crisis map will become. So please help out if you have a few seconds to spare—that’s really all it takes to click an image. If there are no picture left to click or the system is temporarily offline, then please come back a while later as we’re uploading images around the clock. And feel free to join our list-serve in the meantime if you wish to be notified when humanitarian organizations need your help in the future. No prior experience or training necessary. Anyone who knows how to use a computer mouse can become a digital humanitarian.

The SBTF, GISCorps and ESRI are members of the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN), which my colleague Andrej Verity and I co-founded last year. The DHN serves as the official interface for direct collaboration between traditional “brick-and-mortar” humanitarian organizations and highly skilled digital volunteer networks. The SBTF Yolanda Team, spearheaded by my colleague Justine Mackinnon, for example, has also produced this map based on the triangulated results of the TweetClicker:

YolandaPH Crisis Map 2
There’s a lot of hype around the use of new technologies and social media for disaster response. So I want to be clear that our digital humanitarian operations in the Philippines have not been perfect. This means  that we’re learning (a lot) by doing (a lot). Such is the nature of innovation. We don’t have the luxury of locking ourselves up in a lab for a year to build the ultimate humanitarian technology platform. This means we have to work extra, extra hard when deploying new platforms during major disasters—because not only do we do our very best to carry out Plan A, but we often have to carry out  Plans B and C in parallel just in case Plan A doesn’t pan out. Perhaps Samuel Beckett summed it up best: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”


35 responses to “Live Crisis Map of Disaster Damage Reported on Social Media

  1. Keep up the great work, Patrick and team!

  2. Pingback: Typhoon Yolanda: UN Needs Your Help Tagging Crisis Tweets for Disaster Response (Updated) | iRevolution

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  4. Would be useful to also have the Palau and FSM information on the map. These countries are invisible in most reports and yet also suffered great devastation.

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  6. Hello,, being more and more experienced with Ushahidi 2.x I keep on wondering how ever this event cannot be used to foster and improve it in terms of functionalities (adding the deadline feature for any report useful for using Ushahididi as person finder too etc.) From the developemnt trend its clear that the Ushahdi 3.0 is becoming more and more less a crisismap but a social application.

  7. An open collaborative Crowdmap of damage photos and videos of Typhoon #Haiyan made available by @visov1

    • Thanks Gilles, feedback we’re getting from UN folks on the ground and in Geneva is that the Crowdmap is cumbersome to use and not ideal re data visualization. That’s why they’re going with the first Crisis Map displayed in this blog post. But I believe my SBTF colleagues are in touch with @visov1 to upload the Crowdmap data to the Crisis Map. Thanks again.

  8. Would it be possible for you to create a persistent url that people can navigate to easily? No one should have to navigate to this kind of resource by navigating through multiple web pages and especially not to: “”

  9. Good feedback on here, and thank you! We have created a short URL for now and appreciate your feedback to keep improving:

  10. Pingback: stand van zaken #digitalvolunteering #yolandaPH | Decision2.0

  11. Pingback: Live Crisis Map of Disaster Damage Reported on Social Media | GIS Tidings

  12. This is really amazing, incredible work being done. Always things to learn, really great that you’re doing this!

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  21. Is there any collaboration between DHN and DigitalGlobe with the crowdsourced damage assessment being done with their Tomnod platform?

    • Yes via the CrisisMappers list-serve. I invited Tomnod to apply for DHN membership, which they have. Unfortunately, the DHN Coordinators have not yet gotten around to reviewing their application.

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