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Post Disaster Assistance in Shkodra, Albania

Nine of our volunteers have concluded their tasks for a project in Shkodra region of Albania. The project was commissioned by Free Libre Open Source Software Kosovo (FLOSSK), a non-profit organization in Kosovo. FLOSSK requested the assistance of GISCorps volunteers in creating an accurate base map for a region in northwest of Albania known as Shkodra. This region was struck by flood in January 2010. At completion, they helped develop several data layers using OpenStreetMap’s OSM interface including a detailed road network, damaged buildings, and various Points of Interests.

Figure1: Digitized roads and damaged structures

For this project volunteers from five countries were recruited. Miguel Morgado from the UK was designated as the Project Manager and he worked with eight other volunteers:

  • Michele Morettini and Massimiliano Rossi from Italy
  • Takeo Shibata, Andrew Ross, Janet Vaughn, Adebayo Adepegba from the US
  • Doug Brown, from Mexico
  • Kerice Masters from Jamaica
Figure 2: Volunteers’ edits on OSM interface

Volunteers were each responsible for a number of tasks including: collecting and cleansing a number of geographic features, data conversion, and also photo interpretation of LandSat imagery to map ponds, lakes, and flooded areas. They reported their progress to the project manager on a weekly basis. A number of training sessions (some in form of video clips) were held for the volunteers including training on OSM, JOSM and Qgis. Volunteers regularly communicated via email, blog, and IRC chat. The above and following screen shots demonstrate examples of their work at various stages throughout the project (all OSM interface).

Figure 3: digitizing structures and points of interests in downtown Shkodra

Quotes from the volunteers:“I had the opportunity to work with an international team, gain experience in working remotely and learn new tools and techniques. Moreover, I was introduced to the open source software community and improved my knowledge of UNIX Operating system. Last but not lease, I’ve met in this experience very nice people and this gave me the input for learning more in details the history and culture of the Balkans. …I also improved my management capacity and coordination with other professionals, and gained experience for future projects.”

Michele Morettini, Italy

“…New Friends, enhanced knowledge on mapping and natural resource management problems in the Balkan region. New approach to open source software and methodologies.”

Massimiliano Rossi, Italy
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