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Planning an Open Cities Mapping Project

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INTRODUCTION

Cities Project, the major components of its implementation to date, and some of the most salient lessons learned from the project so far. The Open Cities Project launched its efforts in three cities: Batticaloa, Sri Lanka; Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Kathmandu, Nepal. These cities were chosen for DD Their high levels of disaster risk;

1.1 HISTORY OF OPEN CITIES AND THE OPEN DATA FOR RESILIENCE INITIATIVE

The World Bank, through its Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), launched the Open Cities Project in November 2012 to create open data ecosystems that will facilitate innovative, data-driven urban planning and disaster risk management in South Asian cities. Open Cities is one component of a broader World Bank and GFDRR program, the Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI), further described in box 1.1.

Box 1.1 About OpenDRI
Open Cities is part of the Open Data for Resilience Initiative, sponsored by the World Bank and GFDRR. OpenDRI brings the philosophies and practices of the open data movement to bear on the challenges of building resilience to natural hazards and the impacts of climate change. In partnership with governments, international organizations, and civil society groups, this initiative develops open systems for creating, sharing, and using disaster risk and climate change information to ensure that a wide range of actors can participate in meeting these challenges. Since its launch in 2011, OpenDRI has worked to implement these ideas in over 25 countries around the world.

Since its inception, Open Cities has brought together stakeholders from government, donor agencies, the private sector, universities, and civil society groups to create usable information through community mapping techniques, to build applications and tools that inform decision making, and to develop the networks of trust and social capital necessary for these efforts to become sustainable. This process has been evolutionary, with opportunities for experimentation, learning, failure, and adaptation incorporated into the project planning. This guide discusses the rationale and design of the Open Cities Project, the major components of its implementation to date, and some of the most salient lessons learned from the project so far.

The Open Cities Project launched its efforts in three cities: Batticaloa, Sri Lanka; Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Kathmandu, Nepal. These cities were chosen for

  • Their high levels of disaster risk;

  • The presence of World Bank-lending activities related to urban planning and disaster management that would benefit from access to better data; and

  • The willingness of government counterparts to participate in and help guide the interventions.

In each of these projects, Open Cities has supported the creation of new data while also attending to the cities’ broader ecosystems of open data production and use. To view the city-specific project data collected thus far, visit the Open Cities website (box 1.2).

Leveraging robust, accurate data to improve urban planning and disaster risk management decisions requires not only high-quality information but also the requisite tools, skills, and willingness to commit to a data-driven decision-making process. With this in mind, Open Cities also has developed partnerships across government ministries, donor agencies, universities, private sector technology groups, and civil society organizations to ensure broad acceptance of the data produced, facilitate data use, and align investments across projects and sectors.