Digital Jedis and Global Goodwill in response to Cyclone Pam

Digital Humanitarians (also fondly known as Digital Jedis) have yet again pulled off a unique digital response to a major disaster. Please see this earlier overview for context. In response to Cyclone Pam, a Category 5 Super Storm, the World Bank activated the Standby Task Force (SBTF) via the Digital Humanitarian Network to crowdsource the analysis of the very high resolution aerial imagery of disaster damage captured by UAV teams recruited from the Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators). The global digital goodwill that sprung as a result is really inspiring. Here is a world map showing where Digital Jedis contributed to this relief effort.

MM Vanuatu Goodwill Map

The full list of countries where Digital Jedis volunteered from: Vanuatu, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, India, Ethiopia, South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, Liberia, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, England, Ireland, Canada, United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Guyana, Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Argentina!

Together, these Digital Jedis analyzed over 2,500 unique high-resolution aerial photographs. And since each photograph was shown to at least 3 different Jedis for accuracy purposes, these Digital Jedis actually analyzed over 7,500 photographs in total! Together, they (you) traced 1,696 destroyed houses, 1,298 partially damaged houses and 3,967 houses with little-to-no damage (note: these figures do not correspond to unique houses). The results of our collective efforts are mapped here. This map has been shared with our World Bank partners who are using the results to assess the overall impact of Cyclone Pam. Here is a message of thanks directly from the World Bank to all the Digital Jedis who participated:

“I would like to thank MicroMappers volunteers for the generous way in which they have committed their time to rapidly assess the damage to the buildings using the images captured, [… for] mobilizing quickly and producing information that is useful particularly for the housing sector in a situation where due to the geographical nature of the area, many are difficult to be reached. […] I hope that this will be the beginning of a fruitful collaboration that can be scaled up in future response missions in other parts of the world.”


Big thanks again from all of us at QCRI as well for using our MicroMappers platform. Equally huge thanks to the outstanding Digital Jedis at the SBTF for spearheading this MicroMappers deployment. And last but not certainly not least, big thanks to my team at QCRI for going over and beyond one more time. We’ve all learned a lot during this deployment; important lessons that will help us improve future deployments.