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News — 20 May, 2016

Sri Lanka Floods Activation: Sitrep Day 1

Hi all,

~24 hours ago HOT activated in support of the Disaster Management Centre of Sri Lanka. We were requested to generate building information for the Kelani River Basin so household level damages could be accurately assessed. 

The area of interest provided was huge so we broke it into three tasks. In the past 24 hours we've completed 50% of one task. This is actually a major accomplishment, as this task focuses on the Colombo urban area and includes many dense, difficult to map areas.

In addition to our "normal" amazing contributors from all over the world we had an exceptional response from South Asian OSM communities today. OSM Bangladesh, OSM Nepal and OSM India all organized and contributed to mapping the flood affected area in a really touching show of solidarity. Mapbox India also dedicated staff to digitizing and identifying the most useful imagery for the affected area. Thanks everyone!

As night falls in Asia and the day drags on in the West we look forward to mapathons from SardiniaOpenData in Italy, Milehigh Maptime! / OSM-Colorado in Denver, USA and elsewhere focused on tasks 1913 and 1914 (soon to be published). If you're interested in organizing another mapathon in support of Sri Lanka please speak to Mikel Maron ( and he can help you get set you up!

Our contact at the Disater Management Centre went on relief work today and reported to us that many houses were inundated up to the 2nd floor. All single story houses nearby the Kelani were completely inundated. This is a major urban area and that means a lot of people are homeless, wet and scared. Meanwhile inland, huge landslides are burying homes and people. It’s a national scale disaster and we’re focused on one of the biggest, most affected areas.

Keep on mapping everyone! Our work goes directly into the hands of the disaster managers who need it most at this moment.

- Robert