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Emergency Route Planner for Haiti Available Online

Press Release No. 11/2010
15 January 2010
Heidelberg’s GIS Experts Support Crisis Management Following the Earthquake

In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, GIS scientists from the Universität Heidelberg have put an emergency route planner online. Relief volunteers in particular can utilize this service to determine the quickest route to a destination, given the level of destruction in the area and damage to the streets. Prof. Dr. Alexander Zipf’s working group put the service together inside of two days, and the UN Logistics Cluster is already using the service.

The emergency route planer is based on the Heidelberg working group’s OpenRouteService and uses freely available geographic data from the wiki world map OpenStreetMap (OSM). Immediately following the earthquake, volunteers from around the world began to update the OSM database by digitalising aerial photos. Students from the Department of Geography of the Universität Heidelberg are helping with editing these data. Prof. Zipf’s working group previously supported the UN’s relief units with a similar service in the wake of Hurricane Ike’s catastrophic 2008 landfall in Haiti.
The routing service can be found at: The data are being updated hourly.


Further information about the OSM Haiti relief effort, which is open to everyone, can be found at:


Prof. Dr. Alexander Zipf
Department of Geography / Chair of GIScience
Tel.: (06221) 54-55 33

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Tel.: (06221) 54-2311

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