HOT Activates Pidie Earthquake Tasking Manager and Mapathon to Mobilize Community

At 5.00 am Wednesday (7/12/16), a magnitude 6.5 earthquake shook Pidie Jaya District, Aceh Province. The epicentre is located at 5.25 N and 96.24 E on the ground, 106 km Southeast of Banda Aceh at a depth of 15 km. This earthquake was caused by the active faults Samalanga-Sipopok spreading from Southwest to Northeast.

According to BNPB, the Indonesian national disaster management agency, a staggering number of 11,668 units of infrastructure were damaged, including 161 houses, 94 traditional houses, 61 mosques, 16 schools and 10 government offices. Financial lost reaches up to 1,8 trillion rupiahs according to recent update (20/12/16). Latest update on Monday (12/12/16) reported that 101 people were killed, of which 94 people had been identified. 134 people were heavily injured adding to a total of 666 people injured. A total of 83.838 people are in shelter, spreading across 124 places. Most affected population groups are from Pidie Jaya (82.122 people in 120 spots), followed by Bireuen District (1,716 people in 4 spots).

In response to this, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), having dedicated itself to establish communities of open-source mapping for humanitarian response in Indonesia, activated a tool where volunteers from afar can help affected citizens to get their life-saving supplies. This tool, named OpenStreetMap Tasking Manager, makes it possible for anyone with an internet connection to load satellite imagery and digitize them by interpreting, tracing and adding information that can in turn be assessed by a software, named InaSAFE, that can inform disaster managers the exact number of humanitarian supplies needed by the affected  population. This data can also be utilized by other platforms for a variety of use.


Pic 1. InaSAFE, a free software that produces realistic natural hazard impact scenarios for better planning, preparedness and response activities. It provides a simple but rigorous way to combine data from scientists, local governments and communities to provide insights into the likely impacts of future disaster events.

As in the case of Pidie and in many other such places in Indonesia, spatial data is often scarce, if not inexistent. The mapping of spatial data enables disaster management agencies to lay out, visualize and be informed of the number of buildings, public facilities, road networks, waterways and its spread of population in a given area. Such information is crucial in planning for, respond to and recover from disaster events.

Unfortunately, many commercially-driven maps are designed by-default to cater for consumption needs, which means data are centralized in big, metropolitan areas where businesses thrive. While the same data can also be used for disaster management, remote places with zero commercial incentive to offer will be left behind. When disaster strikes in such areas, disaster management agencies will find it particularly challenging to quickly coordinate and accurately decide how humanitarian aid can be disbursed.


Pic 2. Side-to-side Comparison between OpenStreetMap and other Digital Map Platforms on Data Comprehensiveness in Remote Areas between (in this case, in Pidie Area).

With the OpenStreetMap Tasking Manager tool designed by HOT, any concerned party can help coordination in providing such information online, regardless of their geographic location. On-field volunteers and nearby citizen can then easily use this information and add more details to help disaster management agencies be better informed of their supply needs.

“The way the Tasking Manager works is simple. When disaster hits, HOT or its partnering institutions, such as BNPB, can activate a task on the Indonesian version of the website:,” said Elida Nurrohmah, a GIS trainer from HOT. “Concerned individual can open the page and choose a grid where they would like to map or let the website choose for them in random. Once finished, the edits will be up for validation and reflected on the OpenStreetMap, ready to use.”


Pic 3. OSM Tasking Manager on Pidie Earthquake, a tool to divide up a mapping job into smaller tasks that can be completed rapidly. It shows which areas need to be mapped and which areas need the mapping validated. The task can be retrieved from:

In 6 days since its inception, over 70% with 409 tasks were mapped by more than 80 volunteers, both from home and internationally. To speed the mapping of the remaining area, a mapathon event was organized on 14-15 December 2016, taking place in Graha BNPB, Jakarta. Volunteers from various intitutions, including HOT, DMInnovation, Pacific Disaster Centre, Oxfam, Palang Merah Indonesia, IFRC, PP LPBI-NU, MDMC, Muslim Aid and University of Indonesia gathered to complete and to validate collected exposure data. This event was officially opened by Edy Suryawan Purba, Head of Resources Preparedness Sub-directorate and is supported by the Australian Government.

“Currently very limited spatial data is available in remote places and if there is, mostly exist in tabular forms that makes automation, further analysis and processing difficult,” Edy stated in the opening remarks. With the OpenStreetMap Tasking Manager, it is also possible for nearly anyone to extend their time and energy and be involved to provide such data. 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 community adds up to the call for prayer and donation. The table below showcases how the mapathon, focuses on population dense area, doubled the digitized data in much lesser time.


Pic 4. Training Documentation on Pidie Mapathon Hosted in Graha BNPB, Jakarta.


Pic 5. Data Summary on the Number of Contributors, Buildings, Highways, Waterways and Percentage of Data Tasks being Mapped and Validated, Before and After the Pidie Mapathon.

OSM Tasking Manager was designed and built by the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, with the invaluable help from DMInnovation (previously Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction), USAID GeoCenter, USAID Office of Transition Initiatives and World Bank – GFDRR. Some do-it-yourself tutorials are also published online to help first-time mappers get started, such as the OSM Wiki, LearnOSM and MapGive. Collected data can be downloaded in shapefile format here:

There are 104,876 buildings, 4,007 roads and 255 rivers are now mapped in the OpenStreetMap post-the Pidie tasking activation and mapathon, thanks to HOT OpenStreetMap communities all over the world! HOT as an organization will also continue to transfer the technical and substantive know-how of using this tool to more district level government agencies and to communities so that the availability of spatial data can grow in preparation of life-threatening events, especially in remote-yet-disaster-prone areas. Looking at the number of disaster occurrences and other such events in Indonesia, it seems like the community has a lot of work to do when it comes to mapping.

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