2014 Southeast Europe floods

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View of the Sava and Danube confluence in Belgrade, 17th May

The 2014 Southeast Europe floods is was a flood event back in May 2014, affecting a large area of Southeastern and Central Europe, particularly Bosnia Herzegovina and Serbia where rainfall was been the heaviest on record. The deathtoll reached double digits, with tens of thousands of people forced from their homes. Landslides were a hazard, and also landmines left over from past wars, which were disturbed by the floodwaters.

Read more general news on wikipedia:2014 Southeast Europe floods

Map of flooded zones, May 20 2014 (Red NASA Lance Modis / Light red European Commission Copernicus)

Photos of damaged areas

For Aid Organizations

Map and Data Services

About OpenStreetMap

OpenStreetMap offers an online map (and spatial database) which is updated by the minute. Various tools and services allow data extracts for GIS specialists, Routable Garmin GPS data, Smartphone GPS navigation, and other device-compatible downloads. With an internet connection, regular syncing is possible with open access to the community contributed data as it comes in, with OpenStreetMap's bulk data downloads ideal for use offline. In addition, maps can also be printed to paper.

Browse the (example) Activation Area to get a feel for the data that is currently available. Different map styles including an Humanitarian style can be selected on the right side, and some data may not render (appear) on the map, but could be exported from the underlying database (See export section below).

Paper Maps

Poster size Maps and normal sized paper atlases of custom areas can be printed:

  • See OSM_on_Paper for an overview and list of platforms and services for printing maps.
  • We suggest FieldPapers Paper Maps with grid for field survey or general navigation purposes.

Exporting OpenStreetMap data[edit source]

See Downloading data for instructions on getting large scale map data, or see the focused exports below:

  • A custom export is available on the HOT Export Tool
  • Regularly updated OpenStreetMap exports are available on the Humanitarian Data eXchange (HDX)

Offline Road Navigation with small devices[edit source]

With the availibility of Small communication devices, Navigation Offline data proves to be very useful to the humanitarians deployed in foreign countries. We support the humanitarian NGO's using navigation data and invite them to give us feedback on the utilization of these devices in the context of field deployment.

  • See Software/Mobile for more information on using OSM in portable devices.
  • See also Mobile Mapping on LearnOSM.org for information on mapping in the field.

Usage of OSM data for Humanitarian Missions

About this Disaster Mapping Project

History of this intervention

Reactivity of the OSM Community

  • May 17 Hrvoje Bogner and Pierre Béland are starting a Humanitarian mapping project and prepare task manager jobs for the response.
  • May 21 At the request of UNOCHA HOT and the DHNetwork are officially activating to respond to this humanitarian crisis.


Hrvoje Bogner and Pierre Béland are coordinators of this Humanitarian activation. Send emails to hot@openstreetmap.org to reach HOT.

Available Maps - Web, Paper, GPS, Smartphone, Data, Shape files for GIS analysis

OpenStreetMap (OSM) provides good mapping data for this country (free!)

Daily extracts can be downloaded

From http://data.osm-hr.org/floods/

  • Navigation Offline Data for Android smartphones : Experimental hourly updated Philippines map for OsmAnd.

Volunteers from the non-profit crowdsource mapping group MapAction were deployed to Belgrade in response to the severe flooding in Serbia and the Balkans. The volunteers produced several maps for example on the number of people in evacuation centres in Belgrade and on flood-affected areas in Serbia.

Online Ushahidi Maps to report events related to the floodings and landslides

Improving the Map

The various OSM developers communicate over internet through various communication channels. In 2013 they implemented the new Humanitarian Map Style, a map more adapted to humanitarian actions. This map, hosted by OpenStreetMap-fr, is integrated in various online map tools

The Tasking Manager and the JOSM editor are essential parts of this Activation. As new priorities are identified, new jobs are added to the Tasking Manager. It has allowed HOT to coordinate efforts of mappers around the world. LearnOSM.org offers learning material for beginners and more advanced mappers.

Some crisis response mapping may be appropriate to make quick improvements to the map in key areas.

Caution: There is an active mapping local community in these countries. We should take care to avoid damaging/swamping the valuable locally gathered data. General issues related to this are discussed on armchair mapping. Additionally for flood mapping, many tempting data items are in fact very temporary. Temporary data is not appropriate for putting into OpenStreetMap directly. It may be that in many areas there is very little potential for crisis mapping response to improve the OpenStreetMap data (As was the case with UK Floods 2014 for example). However...

The User:hbogner and others in the local community are suggesting some areas for remote mapping work:

Task manager jobs

We using the Task Manager to coordinate the mapping contributions from the remote mappers around the world

  Job No.      Location What to map Imagery
Job 527 Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia detailed buildings, roads and waterways Bing + Mapbox + USDMA
Job 528 Šabac, Serbia detailed buildings, roads and waterways Bing + Mapbox + USDMA
Job 529 Obrenovac, Serbia detailed buildings, roads and waterways Bing + Mapbox + USDMA
Job 530 Krupanj, Serbia : all roads are flooded and cut off detailed buildings, roads and waterways Bing + Mapbox + USDMA
Job 531 Obrenovac extra, Serbia detailed buildings, roads and waterways Bing + Mapbox + USDMA
Job 532 Ćuprija-Paraćin, Serbia detailed buildings, roads and waterways Bing + Mapbox + USDMA
Job 533 Veliko Selo, Serbia detailed buildings, roads, railways and waterways Bing + Mapbox + USDMA
Archived Tasks
Job 535 Place names for localities in the flooded zone (29.600km2)
Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Serbia
Add place names if not already in the OSM database Bing + Mapbox + USDMA
Job 542 Drina Valley, Bosnia
Roads, Railways, Waterways and landuse areas Bing
Job 545 Grocka, Serbia
Roads, Railways, Waterways and landuse areas Bing
Job 546 Sava River and his tributaries, Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia

area based on ReliefWeb Map, May 23 2014

Roads, Railways, Waterways and landuse areas Bing + Mapbox
Job 534 Base Map to cover all the flooded zone (29.600km2)
Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Serbia
Roads, Railways, Waterways and landuse areas Bing + Mapbox

Some discussion on the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team mailing list

Available Imagery

OSM Default Imagery Sources


Bing provides a global imagery data source that is the 'default' Imagery available for OSM (default option in most editors).


Mapbox provides a global imagery source and should be compared to Bing (typically use Bing for alignment if available and not instructed otherwise).

Alternative Imagery Sources

How to add/use Alternative Imagery

In many cases better imagery is available than the default; when possible we set up a remote link directly via the Tasking Manager, so there is nothing to do, the iD editor and (as long as enabled) JOSM will automatically add the imagery.

Additionally, with JOSM, it's relatively easy to add special imagery if the license is appropriate for tracing into OSM. For more details see JOSM Imagery Help

Hack ideas

See these recent ideas UK Floods 2014#Hack ideas which were put together for the #floodhack event in the UK. There's lots of ways to improve tools in and around OpenStreetMap, but these are particularly in relation to flood response mapping.