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May 13th, 2015
Emergency Route Planner for Nepal

The routing service also offers analysis tools to help rescue workers quickly determine a location’s accessibility. Routes can also be downloaded to mobile devices, allowing their use without an Internet connection. The emergency route planner developed at the Institute of Geography supports the activities of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (H.O.T.) and other aid organisations after the catastrophic earthquake. The Kathmandu Living Labs team is coordinating the mapping endeavours. This organisation in Nepal advocates the advancement of open data such as OSM as well as relevant technologies; it is a long-time cooperation partner of the Institute of Geography on site.

To collect and update the necessary map data, disaster mapping events were held on 27 April for students and employees of the Institute of Geography. They worked collectively on the OpenStreetMap data basis by drawing in missing map objects from air and satellite images. “The mapping work goes on through our efforts and those of other volunteers from the OSM community worldwide, thus continually adding to and updating the data basis in OpenStreetMap,” explains Andreas Reimer, who is coordinating the work on the route planner and the maps. “Our programs automatically retrieve the latest data from the central OSM database every 30 minutes to update our route planners and maps.

The Geoinformatics Working Group of Heidelberg University also provided similar services to rescue workers during past disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and Typhoon Haiyan on the Philippines in 2013.