2016 Sri Lanka Floods

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General Information

2016 Sri Lanka Floods have impacted a significant area. The Disaster Management Center of Sri Lanka has requested HOT to assist in generating an estimate of the number of buildings affected by flooding in the Kelani River Basin.

Sri Lanka on OpenStreetMap

For Aid Organizations

Pacific Disaster Center products and sitrep:

PDC continues to closely monitor the recent Floods and Landslides in Sri Lanka. Attached is a PDC Situational Awareness product depicting Accumulated Rainfall for the Past 3 days and 100 Year Major Riverine Basin Flood Hazard Zones. If you would like to view the rainfall accumulation (TRMM) data in real time in DisasterAWARE, please access the Hazard event through the link below and expand the “Default Layers” folder in the product list. You may also search “TRMM” in the “Layers” palette. Additional products will be issued for future advisories as necessary for this event.

Direct link to the Hazard event: http://emops.pdc.org/emops/?hazard_id=59850

If needed, please register for access to PDC's DisasterAWARE here: http://emops.pdc.org/emops/public/registeruser.jsp

Please advise PDC Response below if you require additional support or would like recipients added or removed from this distribution list.


Pacific Disaster Center

Map and Data Services

Map showing the editing activity of OSM contributors during Typhoon Haiyan

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 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:

  • FieldPapers Paper Maps with grid for field survey or general navigation purposes,
  • MapOSMatic Large Paper Maps with grid, street index and POI, good for command centers, hospitals, etc.

Exporting OpenStreetMap data

See Downloading data for instructions on getting large scale map data. See Shapefiles if you need this format to export to GIS tools.

You can find thematic (categorized) layers of OSM data for the target area here, courtesy of the World Bank's Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery. All timestamps are UTC -5.

You can find a more general collection of OSM data from the HOT exports website here: http://export.hotosm.org/en/exports/61f90387-f4e6-4546-a80b-8b01ec60d123/

Offline Road Navigation with small devices

With the availability of small communication devices, offline navigation data has proven very useful to humanitarians deployed in foreign countries. We support humanitarian NGOs using navigation data and invite them to give us feedback on the utilization of these devices in the context of field deployments.

About This Humanitarian Activation

About HOT

Hot logo with text.svg

To learn more about the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), explore more of our wiki-pages (root: HOT) or our website hotosm.org. We are a global community of mostly volunteers, we are also a US Nonprofit able to contract with organizations (email info at hotosm.org to contact our staff), we are also a 501-c-3 charitable organization.

History of this Activation

Reactivity of the OSM Community

  • 30 May - Over One Million Map Changes by just under 400 Mappers using #Sri-Lanka-Floods in their changeset comment!
  • 28 May - 125,000+ Buildings have been contributed by 370 Mappers!
  • 25 May - 100,000+ Buildings have been contributed by 335 Mappers!
  • 23 May - 80,000+ Buildings have been contributed by 300 Mappers!
  • 21 May - 50,000+ Buildings have been contributed by 245 Mappers!
  • 18 May - HOT received a request to Activate...


This Activation is being led by Robert Banick of HOT. The HOT Activation Working Group can be reached via email to Activation @ hotosm.org

Support Team

Mikel Maron, Russell Deffner and Blake Girardot of HOT.

For Mappers

How You Can Contribute

OSM Tasking Manager showing a job in progress

Learn to Map

Mapping Priority

  • Please choose from highest priority first
  • Experienced mappers are also asked to participate in validating completed tasks. Information on validating can be found here
  • Table last updated 31 May 13:00 UTC
  Job No.      Priority Location What to map Imagery Source Task Mapping Status Task Validation Status
All Complete, Thank You! Complete Kelani River Basin Buildings Various Complete Complete
Project 1280 Moderate Gampaha West Detailed Bing In Progress (60%) In Progress (54%)
Project 1340 Moderate Attanagalla Detailed Bing In Progress (26%) In Progress (2%)
Project 1923 Moderate Minuwangoda Buildings Bing In Progress (38%) In Progress (2%)
Project 1934 Complete Kelani Various Buildings Various Complete (100%) Complete (100%)
Project 1920 Complete Aranayake Buildings and Roads HIU Complete (100%) Complete (100%)
Project 1915 Complete Eastern Kelani Buildings Mapbox Complete (100%) Complete (100%)
Project 1914 Complete Central Kelani Buildings Mapbox Complete (100%) Complete (100%)
Project 1913 Complete Western Kelani Buildings Mapbox Complete (100%) Complete (100%)

Available Imagery

The default imagery is sufficient, but we have identified an off-set/difference in alignment; Mapbox appears to be the better imagery to use as it more closely matches GPS data in the area.

NOTE: However, many projects in the area were initiated and complete using Bing for alignment, please read the project instructions for which imagery to use for object alignment.

OSM Default Imagery Sources

Mapbox appears in better alignment with GPS data, and more recent, in the area of interest; if cloudy or missing it will be necessary to switch between Bing and Mapbox, and there may also be complete gaps of default imagery coverage; please note this in the Tasking Manager.


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


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

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

Potential Datasources

Mapathon events