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Disaster Risk Management

Disaster Mapping Using Social Media

With the increasing availability and advancements of mobile technologies with internet, it has become possible to quickly catch up with latest news around the world and share information through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Especially during and after a disaster, the information obtained from citizens can be helpful and valuable for local authorities in identifying the extent, intensity and impacts of the hazardous event. Application-driven data collection techniques using mobile devices and social media allowed for the collection of citizens-based information in real time.

Are you aware that you could even contribute for better management of natural hazards (e.g. in the case of floods) through your tweets? In the recent years, researchers have developed approaches for real-time flood mapping using the social media network such as Twitter, enabling citizens to report the information related to flood conditions.

One of such examples is the work of Deltares ( and Floodtags (; which an independent research institute and a social enterprise based in The Netherlands for water management.  They have studied how Twitter data could be used for disaster response with a pilot case in Jakarta (Indonesia), where floods pose a continuous thread to citizens every year. Taking advantage of citizens’ activeness on social media, in particular on Twitter, a concept was developed which combined observed information (i.e. depth and location of floods) with a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) to produce flood extent maps in almost real-time [1].

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पानी, नदी र बाढी

सडक कि खोला?

अरु बेला साँघुरा सडक, पेटीभरी सामान बेच्नेहरुले गर्दा सजिलै हिँड्न नपाउने काठमान्डुको वर्खाको दुखको कथा बेग्लै छ। कमै सडक होलान् जसमा पानी बनाइएका नाली र ढलबाट बग्छ र सडक सहज रहन्छ।केही बेर पानी पर्दा नै काठमान्डुको मुख्य भाग जमल तथा ललितपुरको कुपन्डोलमा सडक नदी जस्तो हुने त सबैले देखेकै कुरा हो।

सडक बनाउँदा पानी व्यवस्थापनलाई प्राथमिकता दिएर काम गर्न सकिएन भने वर्षा हुँदा दुख दिने कुरा त छदैँछ, बनेको सडकको आयु पनि कम गराउने कुरालाई नजर अन्दाज गर्न हुँदैन।भिरालो धरातलमा त सडकको मुख्य शत्रुको रुपमा लिइने बगेर आउने बर्सातको पानीले उचित निकास नपाए सहरी सडकमा पनि जमेर बिस्तारै खाल्डाखुल्डी पार्ने गर्छ।

बङ्गालको खाडीबाट आउने मौसमी वायुले मनसुनी वर्षा हुने काठमान्डुमा त्यहाँबाट नजिकको भौगोलिक अवस्थिति तथा उत्तरका पहाडले हावा छेक्ने कारणले गर्दा यथेष्ठ मात्रामा नै बर्सात हुन्छ।औसतमा वार्षिक १३८० मिलिमिटर जति पानी पर्ने काठमान्डुमा जुलाइ महिनामा मात्रै ३७८ मिलिमिटरसम्म पानी परेको रेकर्ड छ। वरिपरिका डाँडाको समेत पानी बगेर आउने र बागमती र यसका सहायक नदी मार्फत निकास हुने उपत्यका सतहमा बग्ने पानी व्यवस्थापनको लागि सजिलो ठाउँ भने हैन। अब पहिलेजस्तो धेरै खेतबारी वा पर्ती जग्गा भएर धेरैजसो पानी जमिनमा सोसिएर जाने अवस्था पनि छैन, काठमान्डुमा। Continue reading “पानी, नदी र बाढी”

Field trip in Nepal for Mobile Application

A researcher, Roya Olyazadeh, from University of Lausanne, developed a prototype web application and an offline mobile version for data collection on the impacts of natural hazards in Nepal, such as damaged infrastructure, landslide or flooding events. This collected information can be made available to and used by the responsible authorities and the public for further analysis and visualization. This application is designed as a low-cost, rapid and participatory method for recording of impacts happened due to hazard events and includes geolocation, map visualization, mapping of events with image captures and adding comments or feedback for public participation. Different user levels can be defined for data access and information. The objectives of this work are to provide:

  • a mobile application with advanced geospatial visualization;
  • a service for easy data collection and storage of events information;
  • a centralized data storage accessible by different platforms (smartphones and standard web browsers);
  • an active participation method in event mapping and storage of information.

Based on the recent visit to Nepal, an offline mobile version is made available to address the lack of internet accessibility in rural areas. This version also includes an interactive, offline map with background satellites image to enhance the visibility and mapping of landslides in the area. After the geolocation, the user can start mapping and save data into a text file that can be easily uploaded to the server whenever internet connection is available. All the events and records can be visualized within a map interface by an administrator and made available to the public after the approval. This prototype specifically targeted at conducting an assessment of landslides within a predetermined area to assess land use characteristics such as roads, forest areas and rivers. Continue reading “Field trip in Nepal for Mobile Application”

Post Disaster Response

“Who and Where needs help?” is the most important question to be answered after a disaster hit, especially for the emergency relief and aid organizations, so that resources and supplies could be effectively and efficiently distributed to those in desperate need. However, such kind of information is difficult to know, in particular the developing countries, due to the lack of systematic plan, comprehensive database of assets, population or infrastructure. Therefore, the demand for spatial information has greatly increased, and considering the urgent needs of emergency relief operations, crowdsourcing and volunteered geographic information (VGI) has become quite important in the data collection and creation of online maps. Continue reading “Post Disaster Response”

Serious Games in Natural Disasters

Do you enjoy playing games and have you ever played “serious” games before? Serious games are the virtual simulation of real-world events especially designed to educate, inform and train the players for the purpose of solving a specific problem, unlike entertainment games. It has been applied in many other areas including in the field of disaster risk management since scenarios and simulations can be important aspects of disaster planning and emergency management. These serious games could help to increase public awareness, promote prevention and reduce risk by allowing the exposed community at risk to prepare themselves before, during and after a disaster strikes. For example, what kinds of preventive measures can be implemented to mitigate potential flood risk or how to prepare in case of flooding? Here are some interesting serious games you could check out:

  1. “Stop Disasters” from the UNISDR,, is a game about natural disaster prevention which enables you to face and prevent the consequences of disasters such as people killed and damages to the property. There are five different scenarios you can play: earthquake, flood, hurricane, tsunami and wildfire, and each scenario could takes between 10 and 20 minutes depending on the disaster you are trying to prevent and your skill levels. This game provides information about different preventive measures and you can build your own measures in the best possible way to reduce the risk.
  2. “FloodSim” created by Norwich Union in cooperation with Playgen,, is an interactive policy simulation game which aims to raise public awareness of flooding problems in the United Kingdom. It allows you to implement different policy means over a time span of three years and provides interactive feedback on your decisions taken after each time period.
This looks like fun, doesn’t it? Photo Courtesy:


Continue reading “Serious Games in Natural Disasters”

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