Linked Open Data for Global Disaster Risk Research

Although large amounts of disaster-related scientific data exist today, they are typically dispersed geographically and owned by various entities including government agencies, research centers, community groups and, sometimes, individuals around the world, making them difficult to access and utilize for research and policy making. Four years ago, the CODATA task group Linked Open Data for Global Disaster Risk Research (LODGD) was established to study the mechanism for connecting such data to enable easier and faster discovery and access. After two terms of study since 2012, LODGD has focused itself on addressing the scientific questions, the technical challenges and the best practices of disaster data management. Data Science has been used to merge with disaster research and response.

The work of LODGD is an increasingly important activity with the UN endorsement of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 in June 2015 and the ongoing work by the Open-ended Intergovernmental Expert Working Group on Indicators and Terminology Relating to Disaster Risk Reduction – where the work will not be completed and ratified by the UN General Assembly until early 2017.  This means that providing guidance that is of value to national policy for disaster data needs to follow the agreements by the UN Member States after they have determined how they will provide the agreed indicators for the global. The seven global targets are:

  • Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030, aiming to lower the average per 100,000 global mortality rate in the decade 2020–2030 compared to the period 2005–2015;
  • Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030, aiming to lower the average global figure per 100,000 in the decade 2020–2030 compared to the period 2005–2015;9
  • Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030;
  • Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030;
  • Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020;
  • Substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of the present Framework by 2030;
  • Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people by 2030.

The Sendai Framework  in paragraph 25 (g) states – thus providing the mandate for UNISDR STAG -: "Enhance the scientific and technical work on disaster risk reduction and its mobilization through the coordination of existing networks and scientific research institutions at all levels and all regions with the support of the UNISDR Scientific and Technical Advisory Group in order to: strengthen the evidence-base in support of the implementation of this framework; promote scientific research of disaster risk patterns, causes and effects; disseminate risk information with the best use of geospatial information technology; provide guidance on methodologies and standards for risk assessments, disaster risk modelling and the use of data; identify research and technology gaps and set recommendations for research priority areas in disaster risk reduction; promote and support the availability and application of science and technology to decision-making; contribute to the update of the 2009 UNISDR Terminology on Disaster Risk Reduction; use post-disaster reviews as opportunities to enhance learning and public policy; and disseminate studies".

In addition it is vital to link the LODGD activities to the other 2015 UN Landmark agreements of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement (COP 21).

Following this work, we hereby propose a third term of LODGD task group. A new objective in our scope of work will be the study of national policies and initiatives on disaster data around the world, thus completing  LODGD’s sequence of study on the scientific questions, the technical framework, and data policy on disaster data management. 


Task Group Outputs

What are the most important outputs that the TG will produce (i.e. tangible things the TG will do and publish)?

  • The TG’s first white paper titled " Gap Analysis on Open Data Interconnectivity for Global Disaster Risk Research" has been finished and is now in the external review process. It will be distributed broadly among the disaster related international communities and organizations.
  • The second white paper on "Next Generation Disaster Data Infrastructure" has been drafted and will be finished in the year of 2017.
  •  The third white paper on “National Policy Study on Disaster Data around the World” will be the main output of this term. 
  • Articles will be submitted by members to the CODATA’s Data Science Journal and other leading journals during the next two years. The articles will share the research outcomes from this task group, with topics ranging from the conceptual model and design of new disaster data infrastructure, methods for effectively and efficiently archiving and sharing historical disaster data, mapping disaster vulnerability, experience on developing linked open data applications on disaster mitigation, and others that will emerge from the group's work.

In this phase, we will hold meetings for discussions of the white paper, internal reviews and external review.  LODGD task group members will participate in relevant conferences. We will consider holding workshops on linking open data for global disaster risk research (depending on the additional funding resources). Including:

  • Annual face-to-face meeting focusing on the LODGD group tasks.
  • Regular teleconference
  • Side-meetings at important conferences, such as SciDataCon, SciDataCon-China, ISDE, EOBAR, UNDP conference ,GEO plenary, IGU.
  • Joint training courses with CAS-TWAS SDIM, UNESCO-HIST as well as WDS. 


Co Chairs

Guoqing Li

Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, China


Extensive knowledge and experience with remote sensing, spatial data infrastructure and disaster data management. Long time service in international organizations, such as CEOS, GEOSS, APN and ICSU. Now he is in the second term to serve as ICSU/WDS SC member.  

Carol Song

Rosen Centre for Advance Computing, Purdue University, US


Extensive knowledge and experience with cyber infrastructure technology and information systems. Served as Chair of XD Service Provider Forum and advisory board member to NSF XSEDE. Principal investigator in various data centric research projects (drought information network, climate change impact on agriculture, global scale geospatial data GeoShare, and data infrastructure building blocks, etc).


Bapon (shm) Fakhruddin*

Senior Specialist, Disaster Risk and Climate Resilience, Tonkin and Taylor International, New Zealand 


Expert climate change risk assessor with 14 years’ experience in working on disaster risk and climate resilience projects across several continents. This global experience is a major advantage in the analysis and design of water and coastal projects. Through comprehensive risk assessment and design of adaptation strategies Dr. Fakhruddin’s projects significantly improve the early warning and disaster response capacity of national hydro-meteorological and disaster management agencies in countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Samoa, Seychelles, Thailand, Uganda and Vietnam. Dr. Fakhruddin is currently advising the Government of Samoa on potential adaption strategies for dealing with the country’s vulnerability to climate change, and enhancing its resilience to hydrological disaster. He is a Science Committee Member of IRDR of ICSU/UNISDR, Co-Chair for the DATA and RIA Working 


Virginia Murray

Public Health England


Virginia is a medical Public Health Doctor and she was appointed as Consultant in Global Disaster Risk Reduction for UK’s Public Health England in April 2014. This appointment is to take forward her work as vice-chair of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Scientific and Technical Advisory Group (STAG) and now as a member of the International Council of Science Unions’ Scientific Committee for the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk and co-chair of the IRDR’s Disaster Loss Data (DATA) project is the information dissemination, networking and collaboration forum for the growing network of stakeholders from different disciplines and sectors to study issues related to the collection, storage and dissemination of disaster loss data.. Since 2015 she is also a member of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network for Data 



Executive Committee Liaison

Dr. LI Jianhui (China)
Executive Committee Member 2014-2016
lijh (at)


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