Amidst the chaos of natural disasters, tools used by government to support affected communities must be adaptable and accessible, and integrate into complex and workflows.
By NASA/Karen Nyberg (Typhoon Haiyan. November 9.), via Wikimedia Commons
Early November 2013, as Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) was building in the Pacific, the Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was making preparations. Emergency relief funds were being mobilized, and resources stockpiles pre-positioned. Growing to a category 5 super typhoon, Yolanda was approaching the middle of the island chain with devastating speed. Gusts of up to 235 mph (378 km/h) were recorded as the typhoon hit, largely destroying the city of Tycloban – a city of nearly a quarter million – and wreaking havoc across a swathe of central Philippines. When the winds subsided, more than 6,000 were dead, tens of thousands injured, and at least one thousand missing.The Philippines are no strangers to natural disasters. Sitting both on the Ring of Fire and the pacific typhoon belt, each year the Philippines sees an average of 20 typhoons, and more than 3000 earthquakes, along with volcanic activity from the two dozen active volcanoes across the archipelago.
Dealing so often with the social and economic impact of natural disasters, the Philippines government has developed a cohesive and effective disaster management strategy to maximize preparedness and mitigate risk whilst ensuring rapid response capabilities.
The Virtual Operations Center
In 2016, the Virtual Operations Center was established, bringing together the breadth of DSWD spatial, demographic, and operational data sources to provide vital and time-critical information for communities and aid agencies to aid disaster preparedness and response efforts, while facilitating transparency and good governance.
We want the public to have more access to government information and services that they can use to secure and promote their welfare and safety during disasters. Information is power, and we want this power to be used by Filipinos so they themselves can find means to prepare for calamities and help themselves immediately when calamities strike. — DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo
The Virtual Operations Center allows the public to view and download information on hazards, locations of evacuation centers, situational reports and the status of relief response efforts, as well as predictive analytics.
Using Mango, DSWD is able to augment situational mapping with demographic, planning, and relief data, providing accessible and spatially relevant planning and relief data for communities during natural disaster events.
Mango helps DSWD visualize and understand vulnerable communities with the least resilience to natural disasters, and ensures DSWD Field Offices can preposition adequate stocks of relief and medical supplies including ready-to-eat food packs, potable water, and mosquito nets.
The DSWD Disaster Response Situation Map provides up to date data on planning and recovery operations via an embedded Mango map.
As disaster situations develop, so too must the underlying datasets. Therefore a critical component of the effectiveness of public map applications like the Disaster Response Situation Map is the simplicity of maintaining datasets within Mango. The ability to rapidly reupload datasets and propagate changes throughout all map using the data with minimal effort during disasters allows DSWD map administrators to focus on timeliness, quality and accuracy of data.
Improving Responsiveness: Data Sync
Workflow integrations such as Mango’s Data Sync take data responsiveness one step further, allowing fully automated updates direct from desktop or server.
With Data Sync enabled, all maps using a dataset can be automatically updated within 30 minutes of the dataset update being published to cloud storage service like Dropbox. When a dataset updates, Mango listens for changes and processes the updated dataset and regenerates the tile sets. This removes the need for map administrators to manually reupload the data.