Open Drone Map

Organisation: ShadowView Foundation

Partners: Cleveland Metroparks; University of Wollongong; Vela Aerial

Location: Jakarta, Indonesia; Cleveland, USA; Tandale Settlement, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Zanzibar, Tanzania

Type of grant: Core – development

Status: Ongoing

  • Khadija Abdula Ali flying drones for the Zanzibar Mapping Initiative, near Unguju Ukuu, Zanzibar, Tanzania

  • A commonly flooded and occupied floodplain in Jakarta, Indonesia

  • MSF Japan LOCUS mapping drone prototype number 1

  • Stitched aerial imagery over State University Zanzibar

  • 3D view of VirtualSUZA


OpenDroneMap (ODM) aims to allow humanitarian users to process UAV imagery and push those products to other platforms and projects for crowdsourcing.

What is the humanitarian need?

  • Rapid assessment of disaster damage to building infrastructure;
  • Rapid assessment of powerlines and other electricity infrastructure;
  • Identify usable roads and transportation infrastructure;
  • Identifying useful areas for humanitarians to set up base camp;
  • Road clearance activities;
  • Estimating population displacement;
  • Identifying temporary shelters and locations to set up new shelters;
  • Surveying impact of disaster on agriculture, farmland;
  • Search and Rescue actvities after (natural) disasters

What is the innovative solution?

Effective disaster preparedness, monitoring, relief coordination, as well as damage assessments are predicated on reliable, uptodate geographic information that marries well with on ground knowledge. The highly detailed imagery available from unmanned aerial vehicles well fits this predicate due to high level of spatial detail, flexibility in requisition, and image quality.

The detailed, cloud-free view that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provide is useful for disaster preparedness because it has great potential for field tactics (eg determining the best possible route for a convoy), and is useful for allocation of resources for relief coordination (eg damage assessment and determining most affected areas).

Additionally, processed UAV imagery can result in a unique additional product—three dimensional (3D) point clouds, digital surface models, and digital elevation models—required for natural disaster preparedness planning and societal and infrastructure vulnerability assessments.

What are the expected outcomes?

The outcomes that we seek with OpenDroneMap are faster and more informed decisions for humanitarian relief efforts. We expect that better, more detailed, more relevant, and more flexible mapping efforts as provided by UAVs will aid in those faster and better informed decisions.

OpenDroneMap will be a platform to produce software and required documentation capable of end-to-end UAV imagery processing (from data to map) suitable for use by humanitarian organisations during disaster planning and relief efforts.

By shortening and simplifying UAV imagery delivery and analysis, OpenDroneMap will support the scalability of crisis mapping and will have the capacity to augment preparedness projects, like MissingMaps, with high resolution imagery.


Elrha is hosted by Save the Children, a registered charity in England and Wales (213890) and Scotland (SC039570).

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