Community Mapping in Viet Nam

17 August 2018

Community Mapping in Viet Nam

In June, members of the American Red Cross GIS team traveled to Hoi An, Viet Nam for a Missing Maps training with the Viet Nam Red Cross Society (VNRC) and the American Red Cross Viet Nam Delegation. The purpose of the training was twofold: (1) to train Red Cross staff on how to conduct community mapping, with a focus on mobile data collection, and (2) to demonstrate how to use open-source GIS platforms to produce maps, with the objective of improving preparedness for natural disasters. Using a training of trainers model, participants – and future trainers – learn best practices for conducting community mapping projects in medium- to large-scale teams and how to help their mappers succeed.

Annual Flooding in Central Viet Nam

Each year, Central Viet Nam is affected by several major flood events. In recent a recent assessment, The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) published a map that analyzed how many people were affected by floodwaters in this coastal area following tropical cyclone DAMREY-17 (highlighted in red).

UNITAR Viet Nam Quang Nam Province, Photo: UNITAR

This flood analysis indicates that approximately 190,000 people were affected by Cyclone DAMREY-17 in Quang Nam Province. Having access to maps like these and being able to analysis how far residents live from coastal fronts allow community planners and the VNRC to prepare flood strategies and mitigate large impacts from major storm surges and landslides.

Man fishing near river in Hoi An, Viet Nam, Photo: Ⓒ American Red Cross | Dale Kunce

Using open source mapping tools to plan for flooding in vulnerable areas

One way the VNRC prepares for annual flood events is by routinely completing Vulnerability Capacity Assessments (VCAs). These were traditionally done by hand, making results hard to share and refer back to. When the teams incorporate OpenStreetMap (OSM) into a workflow to complete the VCA, this can result in a more detailed and accurate spatial layout of communities. We can use OSM data layers (like historic flood levels, transportation routes, population densities, etc.) to enhance VCAs so they are more informative to decision-makers. Additionally, understanding where communities are most vulnerable allows us to identify and resolve gaps in our data, ensuring that future plans improve over time. Lastly, using OSM allows us to digitize our results and share the data we created with the wider community for further discussions and improvements.

VCAs done by hand, Photo: Ⓒ American Red Cross | Dale Kunce

A Week of Mobile Data Collection & Community Mapping Practice

Day 1: Remote Mapping Topic: Introduction to Missing Maps and OpenStreetMap Activity: Remote mapping and validation practice Goal: Understand best practices for community mapping

Day 2: Plan Topic: Utilizing Field Papers for effective planning Activity: Plan for groups to conduct mobile data collection, gathering points-of-interests in the community and upload data into OSM Goal: Learn how to effectively plan and conduct mobile data collection in teams

Day 3: Execute Topic: Using open source tools for mobile data collection Activity: Collect data using Goal: Combine everything learned from Day 1 and 2 and collect Points of Interest (POIs)

Day 4: Analyze Topic: Integrating open data and conducting a Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment Activity: Participants create VCAs using the OSM base layer to inform where there are heavy residential areas and major POIs that are valuable during a storm surge Goal: Integrate data created through mobile data collection with pre-existing data in OSM to help inform the VCA and ultimately improve preparedness plans

Day 5: Implement Topic: Map production Activity: Learn how to use Overpass Turbo to extract mapping data and QGIS to produce maps Goal: Create individual maps from VCAs, complete with traditional mapping markers (including a title, north arrow, and legend)

VCAs done by hand, Photo: Ⓒ American Red Cross | Linh Vu

Take away points

After the training, participants are able to:

  • Explore data in OSM and “validate” data if it was incorrect or poorly drawn

  • Collect missing data on their own, combining two tools: Field Papers and

  • Scan their field maps into a digital format and draw their vulnerable community layers on top, indicating where neighborhoods or areas are most vulnerable to major floods and storm surges

  • Take their new strategies learned and data collected into QGIS to produce a professional map that can be used in meetings with partners and stakeholders

Participants head out to map the community, Photo: Ⓒ American Red Cross | Rachel Levine

by Jennifer Duong & Rachel Levine