How an Open-Source Disaster Map Helped Thousands of Earthquake Survivors

Article by Eray Gündoğmuş: “On February 6, 2023, earthquakes measuring 7.7 and 7.6 hit the Kahramanmaraş region of Turkey, affecting 10 cities and resulting in more than 42.000 deaths and 120.000 injuries as of February 21.

In the hours following the earthquake, a group of programmers quickly become together on the Discord server called “Açık Yazılım Ağı” , inviting IT professionals to volunteer and develop a project that could serve as a resource for rescue teams, earthquake survivors, and those who wanted to help: It literally means “disaster map”.

As there was a lack of preparation for the first few days of such a huge earthquake, disaster victims in distress started making urgent aid requests on social media. With the help of thousands of volunteers, we utilized technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to transform these aid requests into readable data and visualized them on Later, we gathered critical data related to the disaster from necessary institutions and added them to the map.

Disaster Map, which received a total of 35 million requests and 627,000 unique visitors, played a significant role in providing software support during the most urgent and critical periods of the disaster, and helped NGOs, volunteers, and disaster victims to access important information. I wanted to share the process, our experiences, and technical details of this project clearly in writing…(More)”.