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NLT StaffMay 1, 2015 11:35:00 AM2 min read

Humanitarian Mapping Effort for Nepal Earthquake Disaster Recovery


On 25 April 2015, an earthquake that registered 7.8 on the Richter scale struck Northwest of Kathmandu, Nepal. The projected initial death totals surpassed 5,000 with many more expected as cascading effects begin to work their way through thec ountry. After an event of this magnitude in a developing country, the largest problem is identifying resource needs, moving those resources, and identifying areas of concern. In Nepal Kathmandu has been mapped extensively due to it being a subject of the Open Cities Project ( however, the surrounding areas were severally lacking data. This keeps responders from identifying homes, persons, and infrastructure in need of assistance.


MapImage from the Telegraph(UK) which has a great site asas well for learning more about the earthquake.


Due to the great need of data, organizations and people throughout the world are donating time mapping spatial information throughout the country.
This information is collected by a crowd of volunteers using Open Street Maps and goes live into the maps immediately. This information is the major source of spatial information for countries where the Red Cross has activities. New Light Technologies decided to take part in the efforts by holding a mapping event with employees and sent personnel to a large-scale collaborative mapping event as well. This event was hosted by various organizations including but not limited to The American Red Cross (, Missing Maps (, Humanitarian Open Street Maps (, and Maptime DC (

It is estimated that during their small event and the time donated to the Red Cross event NLT employees collected over 500 buildings in addition to other miscellaneous information such as roads and critical infrastructure. It is possible these buildings in the affected area would have never been found if not for the efforts of our staff and the efforts of many other mapping support efforts around the world. It is very possible responders will use this information to save someone’s life in Nepal. Even if this data is not used for life saving activities, we can take solace in knowing we made a significant impact in contributing to open spatial data for the world. We encourage other GIS related professionals to participate by donating their time to collect and support data for the Nepal effort and other efforts around the world.

You can also visit the UN-OCHA or the USAID to learn more about the EarthQuake Impact.


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