An Open Data Approach to Mapping Urban Drainage Infrastructure in Developing Communities

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This study seeks to propose a standardized approach and methods for mapping urban drainage systems in developing communities. The research draws on a case study from the Philippines, which sought to conduct rapid elevation surveys and drainage assessments employing open source geographical information system (GIS) tools. We develop a standardized procedure for digitizing drainage systems using OpenStreetMap and Field Papers, as well as discuss applications of this data for drainage design. The results contribute to a methodological framework that can be replicated in other similar developing communities where study of urban drainage is needed for sustainable development and disaster risk reduction efforts.

Action Points

  • Urban flooding in developing countries represents a growing threat to sustainable development efforts, yet the tools and data needed to study drainage infrastructure systems in data-scarce environments are woefully inadequate.
  • We present a case study of an urban drainage mapping project in the Philippines and propose a standardized protocol for capturing informal drainage networks using OSM (OpenStreetMap) in urban settlements with limited resources.
  • Having utilized OSM, the methodology we adopted is easily replicated in other similar developing community contexts where data scarcity hampers urban flood management.

For full details on this research see: See, L.S., Calo, L, Bannon, B., and Opdyke, A. (2020) “An Open Data Approach to Mapping Urban Drainage Infrastructure in Developing Communities.” Water. 12(7), 1880. doi: 10.3390/w12071880



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