Belmont Forum and NORFACE joint programme Transformations to Sustainability (T2S)

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in the field of social-ecological research


Project duration
01.11.2018 - 01.06.2022

Research Project

Waterproofing Data

The project “Waterproofing Data” investigates the governance of water-related risks, with a focus on social and cultural aspects of data practices. Typically, data flows up from local levels to scientific “centres of expertise”, and then flood-related alerts and interventions flow back down through local governments and into communities. Rethinking how flood-related data is produced, and how it flows, can help build sustainable, flood resilient communities.

To this end, this project develops three innovative methods around data practices, across different sites and scales:

  1. we will make visible existing flows of flood-related data through tracing data;
  2. generate new types of data at the local level by engaging citizens through the creation of multi-modal interfaces, which sense, collect and communicate flood data, and;
  3. integrate citizen-generated data with other data using geo-computational techniques.

These methodological interventions will transform how flood-related data is produced and flows, creating new governance arrangements between citizens, governments and flood experts and, ultimately, increased community resilience related to floods in vulnerable communities of Sao Paulo and Acre, Brazil.

The project will be conducted by an international team of researchers with multiple disciplinary backgrounds from Brazil, Germany and the UK, in close partnership with researchers, stakeholders and publics of a multi-site case study on flood risk management in Brazil. Furthermore, the methods and results of this case study will be the basis for a transcultural dialogue with government organisations and local administration involved in flood risk management in Germany (GIScience Heidelberg) and the United Kingdom United Kingdom (University of Warwick).

Schwerpunkte der Forschung

The emphasis of research in Heidelberg lies in the collection of local knowledge and integration of this citizten generated data. The focus is especially on the development of the Sketch Map Tool and the testing and further development of methods for the collection and analysis of local knowledge. Another focus is the development of a webportal for the integration and visualisation of the different types of data gained in the project.

Current Project Information

The Waterproofing Data Project started with a kick-off event in November 2018.

In June 2019 the pilot study took place in the study areas in Acre and in São Paulo. It was a valuable opportunity to test the developed methods in the specific setting of the study areas. Moreover, it was an important step to get in touch with the communities and to learn more about their living conditions, their flooding experiences and the already taken flood mitigation measures. See some impressions from the workshops and the walks during the pilot study.

São Paulo, Brazil
São Paulo, Brazil
São Paulo, Brazil

The main data collection for the study area in São Paulo with surveys and participatory mapping activities took place in November 2019. The field study in Acre could not be carried out due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Our current focus is on the analysis of the data from the field study in São Paulo, and on the development and evaluation of new tools to increase the usability of our methodologies. Based on OpenStreetMap Field Papers, we developed the Sketch Map Tool, which combines data quality analyses and the generation of automatically georeferenced maps for the integration of local knowledge in GIS.

If you like to learn more about the idea behind our approach and the development of the Sketch Map Tool, we recommend to watch the video of the lightning talk at GeOnG 2020 “OpenStreetMap Sketch Map Tool - The Future of OpenStreetMap Field Papers”.

For further information about our “Waterproofing Data” project please have a look at the GIScience News Blog or our publications. In addition, you can find information about an additional project further developing the Sketch Map Tool.

Interim Results and Publications

Publication Sketch Map Tool Workflow

Klonner, C., Hartmann, M., Dischl, R., Djami, L., Anderson, L., Raifer, M., Lima-Silva, F., Degrossi, L. C., Zipf, A., de Albuquerque, J. P. (2021). The Sketch Map Tool Facilitates the Assessment of OpenStreetMap Data for Participatory Mapping. In: ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 10 (3), 130. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10030130

Publication sketch maps

Klonner, C. & Blessing, L. (2019). Gathering Local Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction: The Use of Sketch Maps in Group Discussions. In: Proceedings of the ISCRAM 2019 Conference. Valencia, Spain, pp. 1397–1398.

Publication OSM Evaluation

Klonner, C., Hartmann, M., Djami, L., Zipf, A. (2019). Ohsome OpenStreetMap Data Evaluation: Fitness of Field Papers for Participatory Mapping. In: Proceedings of the Academic Track at the State of the Map 2019. Heidelberg, Germany, pp. 35-36.

Related Work

São Paulo, Brazil

Klonner, C., Usón, T. J., Aeschbach, N., Höfle, B. (2020). Participatory Mapping and Visualization of Local Knowledge: An Example from Eberbach, Germany. In: International Journal of Disaster Risk. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13753-020-00312-8.

Further Papers

de Albuquerque, J., Anderson, L., Calvillo, N., Cattino, M., Clarke, A., Cunha, M., Garde-Hansen, J., Klonner, C., Lima-Silva, F., Marchezini, V., da Mata Martins, M., Grajales, D., Pitidis, V., Rizwan, M., Tkacz, N., Trajber, R. (2023): Dialogic data innovations for sustainability transformations and flood resilience: The case for waterproofing data, Global Environmental Change Volume 82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2023.102730

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Latest Revision: 2023-07-30
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