AIT develops Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami Portal


A new web-based GIS platform of the Earthquake and Tsunami in Indonesia has been created by AIT’s GeoInformatics Center (GIC). The portal ( provides satellite data and analytics, an assessment of damages to buildings and infrastructure, along with field data.

This web-based resource is an addition to the extensive mapping exercise and damage assessment conducted by GIC following the earthquake, when it was appointed the Project Manager after the activation of the International Disaster Charter for the 2018 Earthquake and Tsunami in Indonesia.

The new portal follows the analysis of nearly 500 satellite images that were analyzed after the disaster, as reported in ReliefWeb. AIT had obtained pre-and post-disaster images from world’s leading satellite image providers to conduct an assessment of the damage caused. “The portal goes beyond the initial satellite image assessment, since we now have access to considerable field-based data,” says Dr. Manzul Hazarika, Director of GIC.

Among the people who were stationed in the field to collect data and photographs was Dr. Firman Hadi, a research specialist at GIC. After waiting for two days at the Mutiara airport, Dr. Firman joined a team of humanitarian aid workers for a 10-hour journey to Palu, the capital of the province of Central Sulawesi. What greeted him were ruins, devastation, and the phenomenon of liquefaction at four locations — Petobo, Balaroa, Jono Oge and Sibalaya.

He spent six days conducting assessments, clicking photographs, ground-truthing and geotagging the images with locational data, adding the requirednotes to the to the photographs, and coordinating with local humanitarian agencies.

As a member of the disaster management team at GIC, another staff Mr. Syams Nashrrullah has worked on such catastrophic disasters before. This was the third disaster charter activation in 2018 where AIT was the Project Manager —  the flood in Japan (June 2018), the earthquake in Lombok (August 2018), and now the Sulawesi disaster. Asked to compare the Lombok and the Sulawesi disasters, and Syams says: “The scale was totally different. Sulawesi was not only a bigger disaster, but it also combined both an earthquake  and a tsunami”.

Narrating the sequence of events, Syams reveals that the first major public release of satellite information was the image received from Pleiades satellite. Working with National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) and Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in Indonesia, AIT released pre-and post-disaster image of the disaster-hit area, which proved to be a boon for aid workers and humanitarian relief, and it was quickly reproduced in dozens of news outlets and websites. It also helped arrive at an initial estimate that close to 5,000 buildings and structures had suffered a major damage, particularly in Palu. The satellite data products produced by AIT was used by the local governmenst and armed forces for conducting emergency rescue and relief operations. “Our new web-based GIS platform puts the number of damaged buildings to 8,128,” says Dr. Hazarika. It has village-level details of damage, with Palu Barat (2,933 buildings), and Palu Selatan (2,258 buildings) accounting for the maximum damage. Similarly the AIT team has helped map the loss in health facilities, educational buildings, government offices, and roads. But it is still a long way to go. “A damaged airport, impassable roads and damaged power-lines have hampered efforts to assist remote regions,” adds Dr. Hazarika.