Sri Lanka’s open geospatial sharing platform for Disaster Risk Data

, , Leave a comment

Main interface of

In December 2017, Disaster Management Centre of Sri Lanka (DMC) has launched as the “National Disaster Risk Information Platform” to host the disaster risk related geospatial data in Sri Lanka.  The platform consist with Geospatial data in relation to multiple hazards, exposures, administration boundary and other essential data such as road, waterbody and land use etc.

The development process was started in 2012, and it took almost 05 years to complete the system.  The platform will house multiple risk related data scattered across various organizations in to one umbrella which is now easy to explore and obtain data for the users.  Essentially, it wasn’t available or ready to be used, and it was near-impossible for organizations to find out who had what data.

Why RiskInfo?

Disaster Risk Management is a subject that needs good quality spatial data to make timely decision, both at the response and preparedness phases.  Especially during emergency response time, citizen needs to know what areas has been affected, what areas will affect next few hours for them to evacuate to safe locations.  Authorities needed to target possible affected areas to continue search and rescues.  A possible flood inundation areas in a map with residential areas will provide very simple analytics for authorities to plan for response activities.  Therefore, a comprehensive geographical information is necessary to take timely decision and inform    

 Access to these datasets was historically problematic for the stakeholder agencies, research community, and the DMC, particularly for its regional offices all over Sri Lanka. The reason was multiple data sets were owned by different organizations.  This stifled efforts to make risk informed decisions as part of the development planning process to prepare for and respond to disasters.

In order to avoid these practical issues, RiskInfo was born out of efforts by the DMC, GFDRR, and the World Bank to consolidate data for disaster risk management from various partners. The DMC took the lead setting up and maintaining the online spatial data management platform, based on the GeoNode technology developed by GFDRR. The online platform was hosted in the Government Cloud facilitated by Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA).

Riskinfo currently housing over 350 data sets which are useful to risk based decision making. Hazard data such as Flood, Tsunami, Landslide, Sea Level Rice and exposure data such as population, roads, schools, hospital and land use are some of these.  In addition to that, administration boundaries, elevation data, tsunami tower locations, Heli pads and police stations among the data sets available in the system.   Survey Department, National Building Research Organization, Cost Conservation and Coastal Resource Management Department are the other main contributors in providing the spatial data.  Moreover, past flood events derived from satellite data for the period of 2003 to 2018 were also available among the data sets.  This process involved unlocking data from PDFs and creating a uniform format to store hazard, exposure, risk, and base data. Its main purpose is to allow the sharing of geospatial datasets in a collaborative multi-agency (or multi-user) environment.

Multiple data set of past disaster events in the form of layer file of GIS formats are available

The RiskInfo platform has served as a foundation for building a community of practice around open geospatial data in Sri Lanka. Users have their own access credentials to upload maps and layers that can then be used by others. This system enables the easy, efficient discovery of geospatial layers such as buildings, roads, electricity lines, flood maps, and probabilistic hazard maps.

The successes of the RiskInfo platform extend beyond the online tool itself to include (1) partnerships with multiple stakeholders including government ministries and data producers and (2) capacity building to maintain the platform in-house over time. Perhaps the biggest win has been the improvement of data sharing in Sri Lanka’s institutions, which makes critical information available, usable, and increasingly valuable as a public good.

The RiskInfo platform complements ongoing implementation of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) roadmap by Sri Lanka’s Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), which will directly support integrating all spatial data systems within the government.

The RiskInfo Launch

Launch of the RIskinfo Platform with the presence of Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya, Secretary, Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, Mr. P.M.P. Udayakantha, Survey General, Mr. G.L.S. Senadeera, Director General, DIsaster Management Centre and Country Director Worl Bank

On 21st December 2017, dozens of guests from around the world were welcomed to the launch of RiskInfo by the Director General of the Disaster Management Centre. In the keynote address Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya, Secretary of the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, described the concept of NSDI and e-government service delivery in Sri Lanka. Guests had the chance to participate in hands-on demonstrations of the new RiskInfo Portal, and discuss ideas for additional applications of the tool in the future.

User Access

The riskinfo portal is accessible through and users are able to get login access by registration. The site use usable even woithou logging. For the upload layers, create maps and publish, users need to register in to the site.


Leave a Reply