A Force for Good: How Digital Jedis are Responding to the Nepal Earthquake (Updated)

Digital Humanitarians are responding in full force to the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal. Information sharing and coordination is taking place online via CrisisMappers and on multiple dedicated Skype chats. The Standby Task Force (SBTF), Humanitarian OpenStreetMap (HOT) and others from the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) have also deployed in response to the tragedy. This blog post provides a quick summary of some of these digital humanitarian efforts along with what’s coming in terms of new deployments.

Update: A list of Crisis Maps for Nepal is available below.

Credit: http://www.thestar.com/content/dam/thestar/uploads/2015/4/26/nepal2.jpg

At the request of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the SBTF is using QCRI’s MicroMappers platform to crowdsource the analysis of tweets and mainstream media (the latter via GDELT) to rapidly 1) assess disaster damage & needs; and 2) Identify where humanitarian groups are deploying (3W’s). The MicroMappers CrisisMaps are already live and publicly available below (simply click on the maps to open live version). Both Crisis Maps are being updated hourly (at times every 15 minutes). Note that MicroMappers also uses both crowdsourcing and Artificial Intelligence (AIDR).

Update: More than 1,200 Digital Jedis have used MicroMappers to sift through a staggering 35,000 images and 7,000 tweets! This has so far resulted in 300+ relevant pictures of disaster damage displayed on the Image Crisis Map and over 100 relevant disaster tweets on the Tweet Crisis Map.

Live CrisisMap of pictures from both Twitter and Mainstream Media showing disaster damage:

MM Nepal Earthquake ImageMap

Live CrisisMap of Urgent Needs, Damage and Response Efforts posted on Twitter:

MM Nepal Earthquake TweetMap

Note: the outstanding Kathmandu Living Labs (KLL) team have also launched an Ushahidi Crisis Map in collaboration with the Nepal Red Cross. We’ve already invited invited KLL to take all of the MicroMappers data and add it to their crisis map. Supporting local efforts is absolutely key.


The Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators) has also been activated to identify, mobilize and coordinate UAV assets & teams. Several professional UAV teams are already on their way to Kathmandu. The UAV pilots will be producing high resolution nadir imagery, oblique imagery and 3D point clouds. UAViators will be pushing this imagery to both HOT and MicroMappers for rapid crowdsourced analysis (just like was done with the aerial imagery from Vanuatu post Cyclone Pam, more on that here). A leading UAV manufacturer is also donating several UAVs to UAViators for use in Nepal. These UAVs will be sent to KLL to support their efforts. In the meantime, DigitalGlobePlanet Labs and SkyBox are each sharing their satellite imagery with CrisisMappers, HOT and others in the Digital Humanitarian Network.

There are several other efforts going on, so the above is certainly not a complete list but simply reflect those digital humanitarian efforts that I am involved in or most familiar with. If you know of other major efforts, then please feel free to post them in the comments section. Thank you. More on the state of the art in digital humanitarian action in my new book, Digital Humanitarians.

List of Nepal Crisis Maps

Please add to the list below by posting new links in this Google Spreadsheet. Also, someone should really create 1 map that pulls from each of the listed maps.

Code for Nepal Casualty Crisis Map:

DigitalGlobe Crowdsourced Damage Assessment Map:

Disaster OpenRouteService Map for Nepal:

ESRI Damage Assessment Map:

Harvard WorldMap Tweets of Nepal:

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Nepal:

Kathmandu Living Labs Crowdsourced Crisis Map: http://www.kathmandulivinglabs.org/earthquake

MicroMappers Disaster Image Map of Damage:

MicroMappers Disaster Damage Tweet Map of Needs:

NepalQuake Status Map:

UAViators Crisis Map of Damage from Aerial Pics/Vids:
http://uaviators.org/map (takes a while to load)

Visions SDSU Tweet Crisis Map of Nepal:

18 responses to “A Force for Good: How Digital Jedis are Responding to the Nepal Earthquake (Updated)

  1. Geospatial Media

    Reblogged this on GeoBuiz Channel and commented:
    Continuing to our Blog on Satellite Images for Nepal Earthquake Disaster, here are another interesting blog with more update from on the ground in Nepal!

  2. Pingback: Nepal, Google Person Finder.MicroMappers y varios HT tras el terremoto | iRescate

  3. Pingback: Nepal Earthquake – How to Help « Casus Calamitas

  4. Thanks Patrick – great article – don’t forget Humanity Road🙂

  5. i was just going into to add Humanity Road and Cat beat me to it🙂

  6. It’s great to see how many people and groups are helping the rescue efforts — the support is overwhelming. Times of need bring out the best in people. So glad they are being helped. Sending prayers, and hoping for more survivors.

  7. Pingback: Link List: Social Media, ICT and the Nepal Earthquake | Social Media for Good

  8. Pingback: Comment les “Digital Jedi” réagissent au tremblement de terre au Nepal | BLOG | DigitaleBox

  9. Pingback: Nepal earthquake emergency: why digital humanitarian response matters and how you can help | Beatrice Martini – blog

  10. Pingback: משלוח אורגני: קישורים וחדשות ברשת, אפריל 2015 | אינטרנט להשפעה ושינוי חברתי

  11. Pingback: Supporting Nepal | I World New

  12. I created a map of emergency facility in Kathmandu based on OpenStreetMap data. http://cdb.io/1FBH9RG

  13. Basanta Raj Adhikari

    Very informative article.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s