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Volunteers digitized features after Hurricane Patricia - Mexico PDF Print E-mail

Volunteers digitized features after Hurricane Patricia

Hurricane Patricia was the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere in terms of barometric pressure and sustained winds. Patricia also grew faster than any Western Hemisphere storm on record, growing from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in just 24 hours.

Late on October 23, Patricia made landfall in Jalisco state in western Mexico at Category 5 intensity, the second Pacific hurricane to make landfall at such intensity.  Devastation was predicted to be high; however Patricia’s core avoided the most populated areas and passed through areas with less than 30 people per square mile. Patricia rapidly weakened as it passed over the mountainous terrain of Mexico and degraded into a tropical depression within 24 hours. May lives were saved by the location of landfall and quick degradation of Patricia. However the hurricane caused widespread flooding in Mexico, Central America and Texas.

Figure 1: Tasks that were being worked on before the landfall

Once Patricia grew from a tropical storm into a Category 5 hurricane a team of 10 GISCorps volunteers led by Leslie Zolman, a GIS professional from Montana, worked with HOT, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, to map the area where Patricia was predicted to make landfall. Road networks, buildings and major population centers were identified and mapped. Once landfall was made and the direct threat to major population areas was lowered, the team switched to mapping areas needed in the recovery phase; rain and landslides threatened property, lives and made supplying aid in needed areas difficult. In this phase work on road networks and buildings continued to be mapped along with rivers and streams.

Figure 2: T
asks that were being worked on after the landfall 

Our 10 GISCorps volunteers were based in Brazil, Italy, Nigeria, Pakistan and the USA (Colorado, Montana, Oregon and Washington states). Almost 10,000 edits were made to OpenStreetMap. This was a short activation due to where Patricia made landfall and her quick degradation. When the an earthquake struck Afghanistan and Pakistan just days later on October 26 we were able to transfer many of our volunteers into HOT Afghanistan earthquake activation.

Figure 3: An example of an area showing the work done by the volunteers

Below is a list of volunteers that contributed to this project:

Alice Pence (Washington), David Litke (Colorado), Emmor Nile (Oregon), Francesco Petrosino (Italy), Jefferson Santos (Brazil), Kazeem Owolabi (Nigeria), Leslie Zolman (Montana), Michael Krueger (Montana), Pedro Enrico Salamim Fonseca Spanghero (Brazil) and Shahzad Bacha (Pakistan).