A partnership between Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the World Bank, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, American Red Cross, USAID, and Development Seed, Open Cities was launched in November of 2012 in order to “create open data ecosystems that will facilitate innovative, data-driven urban planning and disaster risk management in South Asian cities.” Stakeholders from government entities, donor agencies, the private sector, universities, and civil society groups have been brought together under the Open Cities umbrella to develop mapping tools, applications, and data models in order to make better informed decisions about cities in South Asia.
The Open Cities was launched in three cities: Batticaloa, Sri Lanka; Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Kathmandu, Nepal. These cities were chosen for their high disaster risk level, presence of existing World Bank activities, and local government cooperation in the project. Open Cities uses detailed GIS data such as roads, building infrastructures, and population in order to help develop land use plans, emergency management plans, and evacuation routes for disasters.
Open Cities is built upon the OpenStreetMap platform whose crowdsourced mapping efforts, in part, helped influence this project. More detail about the methods and forces behind the Open Cities project can be obtained by reading the Planning an open cities mapping project report produced by the World Bank. The read case studies about this open data project visit the Open Cities web site.