Monthly Archives: August 2020

A CODATA Connect Webinar on “Urban Data Observatory Framework and ClimateSmart City Assessment Framework in India” by Umamaheshwaran Rajasekar

On 30 June 2020, a webinar titled “Urban Data Observatory Framework and ClimateSmart City Assessment Framework in India” was organized by the CODATA Connect Alumni and Early Career Network. This was the fifth webinar in the series on Smart and Resilient Cities, while other webinars are planned in the coming months throughout 2020. Dr. Shaily Gandhi of the CODATA Connect introduced the speaker and theme of the webinar series. As introduced, the speaker Dr. Umamaheshwaran Rajasekar is the Chair of Urban Resilience at the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) in New Delhi, India. As a team leader and project manager, he has spearheaded pioneering data-informed policy efforts in India including implementation of end to end early warning systems for urban floods, the establishment of urban health and climate resilience centre, development of urban disease surveillance system, mainstreaming of urban service monitoring systems, the conduct of urban risk analysis, and preparation of city resilience strategies. He has recently worked towards bridging the gap between technology and society to enable informed decision-making in a changing environment across 100 smart cities in India.

Umamaheshwaran began his talk by introducing India’s urban futures. He opined that half of India’s population is expected to be living in urban areas by 2050. Indian cities need to be better prepared to accommodate the expected growth as well as manage shocks and stresses. He further stated that many cities in India face challenges in providing essential civic services and managing their natural resources. He also opined that the poor planning for Indian cities would cost the economy between 1.2 and 6.3 percent of GDP. Many Indian cities are underprepared to manage shocks, such as the Chennai floods in 2015, and the Cyclone Hudhud in 2014 resulted in cumulative damages worth more than INR 240 billion, and loss of many human lives. Additionally, 116 AMRUT cities and 30 smart cities in India are prone to high risk of earthquakes. He then introduced the Datasmart Cities initiative in India of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) to help 100 smart cities promote data for better governance and innovation. In 2020, MoHUA established the Climate Center for Cities (C-CUBE) within NIUA with a vision to build climate actions in cities. This is a one-stop-shop for informed climate actions. He then introduced the Climatesmart Cities Assessment Framework 2.0, a first-of-its-kind city assessment framework on India’s climate-relevant parameters. The Framework is progressive and aspirational in nature and includes indicators in five broad categories, namely, Energy and Green Building; Urban Planning, Green Cover and Biodiversity; Mobility and Air Quality; Water Resource Management; and Waste Management.

He then discussed the concept of Data Observatory for Indian Cities. He defined an urban data observatory (UDO) as a platform that serves as a repository for accurate and frequently updated city-specific spatial and non-spatial data, and aids as a decision support system. The decision-makers will be able to use the data observatory to visualize trends, analyse data, and build scenarios to help stakeholders solve complex urban problems. The UDO adopts a multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral approach, collating and visualizing data from various government and non-government agencies. He informed the audience that the NIUA is establishing a UDO in Chennai very soon in collaboration with Chennai Smart City Ltd, the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and IIT-Madras. He then presented a use case on water challenges in Indian cities. At the same time, a typical UDO for an Indian city serves the stakeholders such as the Municipal Commissioner, local businesses, and city dwellers. For each stakeholder, how a UDO contributes to a changed scenario is also discussed.

Mr. Felix Emeka Anyiam of the CODATA Connect moderated the Question and Answer session and was assigned to obtain questions from the online participants keyed into the webinar question handle. Some of the questions were related to the urban rejuvenation of Indian cities, their sustainability pathways, green cover, online availability of city-level data, data-driven decision making, and the climate-smart city assessment framework.

The session was concluded with a vote of thanks presented by Shaily. She also announced the forthcoming activities of the CODATA Connect, including an Essay Writing Competition on “Open Data Challenges to Address Global and Societal Issues”, the second webinar series “Research Skills Development”, and Smart and Sustainable Cities Datathon for the CODATA alumni and early career professionals.

Prepared by:
Anup Kumar Das
(Jawaharlal Nehru University, India,

Disaster Risk Reduction and Open Data Newsletter: August 2020 Edition

UNDRR Sendai Hazards Report Launched
“We believe the report, which classifies over 300 types of hazard across the extended range of risk identified in the Sendai Framework, namely natural and man-made hazards, as well as related environmental, technological and biological hazards and risks, will be an important stepping stone for the international community to achieve sustainable development within the increasingly complex, interconnected and systemic risk landscape”, says head of UNDRR Mami Mizutori.

An update from Mami Mizutori, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction — 30 July 2020
Mami Mizutori, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, shares an update on response, recovery, prevention, partnering and sharing, and advocacy.

UNDRR: Haiti approves a new Risk and Disaster Management Plan
In an important step towards creating a more resilient region and better prepared to face disasters, the Government of the Republic of Haiti approved the National Risk and Disaster Management Plan 2019-2030, a result of an inclusive, multisectoral and participative process.

New Zealand’s White Island is likely to erupt violently again, but a new alert system could give hours of warning and save lives
Tourists visiting Whakaari/White Island on December 9 last year had no warning of its imminent violent eruption. The tragedy prompted the development of an early alert system from David Dempsey and Shane Cronin from the University of Auckland. Their research shows patterns of seismic activity before an eruption that make advance warning possible.

New Open Access Timely Data Portal Launched
In partnership with Esri and National Geographic Society, SDGs Today: The Global Hub for Real-Time SDG Data, is a new data platform developed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). This one-of-a-kind open access data platform aims to provide a snapshot of the state of sustainable development around the world right now, while enabling users to access and engage with timely data on sustainable development, obtain GIS training and resources, and learn how to use the data effectively to drive action on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its set of 17 SDGs. All datasets were curated and validated by SDSN’s Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS).

UNDRR: Hazard definition and classification review
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (‘the Sendai Framework’) was one of three landmark agreements adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The other two being the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The UNDRR/ISC Sendai Hazard Definition and Classification Review Technical Report supports all three by providing a common set of hazard definitions for monitoring and reviewing implementation which calls for “a data revolution, rigorous accountability mechanisms and renewed global partnerships”.

International Science Council Hazard Definition & Classification Review: Technical Review
Supported by the Integrated Research for Disaster Risk (IRDR) programme of the ISC, a dedicated technical working group which brought together scientists, technical UN agencies and other experts from the private sector and civil society developed a detailed report including six targeted recommendations.

First national climate change risk assessment for New Zealand
New Zealand’s first national climate change risk assessment has identified 10 significant areas that need to be urgently addressed in the next six years to reduce their impacts. The risk assessment is an overview of how New Zealand may be affected by climate change-related hazards, and will be used to develop a national adaptation plan over the next two years.

ISC Webinar: Launch of a new scientific report on hazards definition
The UNDRR-ISC Sendai Hazard Definition and Classification Review Technical Report was officially launched online on 29 July 2020. This webinar launched and presented the detailed report, including six targeted recommendations.

Using Mobile Data For Health Monitoring: A Case Study of Data Sharing
A new case study from SDSN TReNDS documents a data collaboration between the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), Vodafone Ghana, and Flowminder. The collaboration enabled the GSS to access insights from mobile phone data to plan public health and sustainable development policies, and it is a useful example of how a government and a private company were able to work with an intermediary partner to gain insights from sensitive data. The mobile data being used by the GSS as a result of the collaboration has proven especially valuable during the current COVID-19 pandemic to document the impact of restriction measures in Ghana.

United Nations comprehensive response to COVID-19: Saving lives, protecting societies, recovering better​
The overview recounts the UN’s key guidance, lessons and support so far – and points the way to the crucial steps that must follow to save lives, protect societies and recover better. It amounts to a recipe for a comprehensive response to and recovery from COVID-19 that will leave no one behind and address the very fragilities and gaps that made us so vulnerable to the pandemic in the first place.

Webinar – 11 Aug: Create resilient communities with medium-range hazard warning systems
Early warning systems are a major component in disaster risk reduction. Despite forecasting system advances, hydro-meteorological and geo-hazards continue to claim thousands of lives, while wreaking irreparable damage upon homes, businesses and critical infrastructure. Key issues to be discussed include policy + political issues, ensemble-based guidance and decision-making.

Webinar – 04-06 Aug – Climatological, Meteorological and Environmental factors in the COVID-19 pandemic
This international virtual symposium will help elucidate what is known, understood, and can be reliably predicted about environmental variables’ influence on the trajectory of the COVID-19 epidemic, from global, hemispheric, regional and local perspectives. Symposium outcomes will include a synthesis of the information presented and recommendations for further research at local to global scales.

Call for contributing papers: The UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022
The UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) is the flagship report of the United Nations on worldwide efforts to reduce disaster risk. The GAR main report is published every three years by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and is the product of the contributions by nations and public and private science and research partners, amongst others.

International Symposium “Global Collaboration on Data beyond Disciplines”, 23-25 Sept 2020; Presentation submission deadline: August 15​
The goal of this symposium is to build consensus on various aspects of research data management by all stakeholders in alignment with Open Research policies and initiatives. It will explore new paths for activities significant in promoting interdisciplinary and collaborative research and data reuse under different scientific disciplines based on evidence and feedback from data communities.

CODATA Webinar – 13 Aug: Thinking Reproducibility in Your Research Work
In this session, participants will be introduced to the landscape of reproducibility in scientific research and the main tools required for the implementation of reproducibility in their own research work. The session will present some case studies to highlight the issues being discussed.

28-30 Sept: 2020 Annual CAP Implementation Workshop
CAP Implementation Workshops focus on emergency alerting as enabled by the CAP standard, ITU-T Recommendation X.1303. At the Workshops, implementers of CAP and other associated organisations discuss common issues and how best to leverage the expanding adoption of CAP. At this 2020 Workshop, 21 presentations will address a wide range of topics, presented by experts from around the world.

July 2020: Publications in the Data Science Journal

YARD: A Tool for Curating Research Outputs
Author: Limor Peer, Joshua Dull

An Infrastructure for Spatial Linking of Survey Data
Author: Felix Bensmann, Lars Heling, Stefan Jünger, Loren Mucha, Maribel Acosta, Jan Goebel, Gotthard Meinel, Sujit Sikder, York Sure-Vetter, Benjamin Zapilko