Risk assessment is another area where volunteers can help formal decisionmakers before crisis occurs, especially via microwork. In February, 2013, OpenStreetMap Nepal and the Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI) organized a ‘mapathon’ to improve earthquake risk assessment for Nepal’s earthquake-prone capital of Kathmandu. Volunteers from Standby Taskforce and elsewhere have traced satellite photos of homes to produce digitized maps of local infrastructure, producing a more accurate risk assessment of the city.

Arlene Ducao’s OpenIR project improves the online accessibility of satellite infrared photography itself to allow the public to assess topographic risk in new ways, such as the risk of flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia. This work is likely to benefit the affected population as well as decisionmakers working on their behalf, and is likely to require more specialized skill than microwork projects.

UNICEF, meanwhile, received money from Dell to launch the UNICEF-GIS project, which encouraged youth in Brazil and Haiti to map their communities’ risk using mobiles, another lightweight task, although aimed at helping the potentially affected population and decisionmakers alike.