Jakarta. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, or HOT, an international nongovernmental organization dedicated to providing high-quality geographic data, has launched an open-source mapping tool in response to the 6.5-magnitude earthquake that hit Aceh's Pidie Jaya district last week.
The OpenStreetMap Tasking Manager tool allows people to collaborate and add information online to help disaster managers, volunteers or citizens living nearby estimate the amount of humanitarian supplies needed by the disaster-struck areas.
The NGO believes that with the help of spatial data mapping, disaster management becomes more efficient, as it helps response teams to visualize what is going on around them and what aid is required.
"The way the tasking manager works is simple – when a disaster hits, HOT or its partnering institutions, such as the National Disaster Management Agency [BNPB], can activate a task on the Indonesian version of the website," Elida Nurrohmah, a geographic information system trainer at HOT, said in a statement on Thursday (15/12).
"Concerned individuals can open the page and choose a grid where they would like to map, or let the website choose one for them at random. Once finished, the edits will be up for validation and reflected on the OpenStreetMap, ready to use."
The tool was activated by HOT on Dec. 7, and it has since mapped over 70 percent of Pidie Jaya with the help of volunteers from various institutions, including the Pacific Disaster Center, Oxfam and the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI).
HOT designed the tool with the help of DMInnovation, the USAID GeoCenter, the USAID Office of Transition Initiatives and the World Bank's Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.
"Some individuals might have geographical, financial and physical constraints when it comes to contributing directly as on-field volunteers. With the tasking manager, more alternatives to involve the community adds up to the call for prayer and donations," said Biondi Sima, a communications specialist at HOT.