Map Your Community in OpenStreetMap with Project NOAH

Part of the current goals of the Integrated Scenario-based Assessments of Impacts and Hazards (ISAIAH) component of Project NOAH is mapping the building footprints of communities. This effort involves a collaborative partnership with the OpenStreetMap (OSM) community.


Aside from developing useful applications for hazards information and risk analysis, NOAH is also equipped with techniques on OSM mapping. To accomplish this, a series of advanced mapping sessions was conducted last March 17, 18 and April 4 and 8 on tracing satellite imagery and mapping footprints of structures.


OpenStreetMap editing training sessions at the Project NOAH Laboratory

OpenStreetMap data is crowd sourced, free, and open source. As such, it is integral in creating a disaster resilient environment. By identifying points of interest, critical facilities (e.g. health centers, schools, town halls), buildings, and other infrastructures in the community, areas vulnerable to disasters can be easily identified, and risk and exposure details (number of affected houses, commercial buildings, evacuation centers) would be readily estimated.

Through the benefits of using this mapping data, OSM is beneficial for ISAIAH and Project NOAH. This opens doors in the creation of more accurate street-level risk analysis maps for the Philippines. This in turn will be used in improving disaster management before, during, and after emergencies.

The ongoing initiative involves a substantial and engaged collection of community information that could improve the resilience of Filipinos. This timely, accurate, and readily available information can also help in the prevent the loss of lives and properties in the event of a disaster.

Project NOAH believes that an increased awareness for disaster risk is the key in cultivating a culture of preparedness and reducing the catastrophic impacts of extreme weather events. We also recognize that the knowledge of where people and necessary resources reside is vital in disaster management.

To fully make this project operational, the translated building footprints data from OSM are included and being utilized in one of Project NOAH tools, the WebSAFE application. It is used as an impact assessment tool for end-users to be able to readily identify the number of affected people and buildings or structures in case a hazard scenario like a flood or storm surge hits a certain area.

With WebSAFE, local governments can have the ability of knowing how many means of survival (relief goods for example) they need to prepare and allocate in case a severe weather event strikes. This is a powerful tool to have especially in a country where resources are severely limited.


WebSAFE data the Project NOAH website showing risk analysis data

This innovation in science and technology is vital to the officials of the local government units, NGOs, and even members of various civic sectors. It will provide them a better understanding about the physical infrastructure and population density of at risk areas.

To be able to harness the continuous improvement of Philippine mapping data from relentless OSM mapping contributors, WebSAFE is constantly updated with the data from OpenStreetMap.


OSM data of building footprints along Tacloban as shown on JOSM, an advanced offline editor for OpenStreetMap

Help us map the Philippines and make sure that your houses and offices are included in the disaster plan of the country! With your incessant contribution, disaster preparedness measures will be more engaged and effective, especially in identifying hazards and risk exposure in the community.

Watch  this video to help you get started in mapping!

To those who already have their OSM accounts, you can contribute by using the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap (HOT) Tasking Manager, an online task manager for a collaborative and seamless mapping manager for OSM contributors.

Hot Task


For more information, you can also access the OSM training document article or e-mail the OpenStreetMap Philippines community at, DOST-Project NOAH

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