Data Sharing Platform Improves Flood Risk Reduction in Malawi

A new data sharing platform in Malawi is helping to improve flood preparedness and flood risk reduction.

The Malawi Spatial Data Platform is a free, open source geospatial data sharing platform. It will allow access to critical information and offer information sharing across government departments. Users can upload, download, edit and share geospatial information – such as flood outlines, elevation data, soil types, population, roads, buildings and land-use datasets – and visualize this information on a map.

Instead of being dispersed and hard to access, disaster risk and climate-relevant data are now consolidated in one open and accessible platform, which is particularly useful for pre-event planning.

Malawi flood risk reduction map

The platform is currently being used in a new flood and disaster risk mapping exercise supported by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the World Bank and are implemented by the Government of Malawi.

Working in Malawi’s flood prone Lower Shire Valley, teams of mappers made up of people from the government, civil society organizations, universities and the local community have helped collect information on roads, dwellings and village facilities to share online. Access to this information will help various district departments prepare for floods and minimize the negative impact they have on the communities.

“The power of the crowd is alive and continues to advance the understanding of the world, providing exciting possibilities for this newly collected and collated data to have a positive impact,” said Emma Phillips, disaster risk specialist with GFDRR.

“Being in flood prone areas, the communities now better understand the risks they face and how to properly plan for their land use,” said Humphrey’s Magalasi, assistant district disaster risk management officer for the Nsanje district. “This exercise has therefore helped both the district officials and communities to have updated exposure data required for emergency response planning during floods.”

See the Malawi Spatial Data Platform here.