UW Students Use Open Source Mapping to Aid Relief Efforts in Nepal

Students here at the University of Washington in Assistant Professor Jessica Kaminsky‘s Civil Engineering in Developing Countries class were recently featured in UW Today for their work in assisting with the Nepal earthquake relief effort. Using OpenStreetMap software, the students have been using satellite images to generate high quality, real-time maps for use in the relief effort.

Find­ing that one lit­tle vil­lage with no major high­ways and being able to tell some­one that that vil­lage is there is really reward­ing. Because if it’s not marked on that map, then there are a lot of cracks that it could slip through,” said civil and environmental engineering grad­u­ate stu­dent Leigh Allison.

Map­ping in Nepal by Open­StreetMap com­mu­nity

With each UW stu­dent con­tribut­ing five hours of assigned emer­gency map­ping, the class’ efforts totaled 120 hours of mean­ing­ful dis­as­ter response work, and some students plan to continue that work. Even just a few hours makes a dif­fer­ence with thou­sands of vol­un­teers work­ing around the globe.

It’s almost like say­ing, ‘Don’t for­get us,’” said Lew. “There’s a ten­dency to want to do the major cities and the infra­struc­ture that’s clos­est to the major high­ways, but as you get fur­ther and fur­ther out, there’s still houses out there that are dis­con­nected. It’s really cool to draw a box around them and say, ‘there’s a fam­ily here, don’t for­get them.’”

For more information, contact Jessica Kaminsky at jkaminsk@uw.edu.

Read the entire article here.

By |July 2nd, 2015|Nepal News, News|0 Comments

New Autumn Quarter Class- Tragedies, Trauma and Resiliency: The 2015 Earthquake as a Prism to Exploring Social Issues in Contemporary Nepal


By |May 11th, 2015|Nepal News, News|0 Comments

Earthquake Emergency Relief Activities

NSA-NSI-Earthquake-Relief-Flier_4.27.2015-copyDear friends, colleagues, and well-wishers of Nepal,

We are deeply moved by the devastating earthquake on April 25th, 2015 in Nepal. At this moment of unimaginable tragedy, your overwhelming support has touched our hearts and supported us to gather our energy to bounce back.

We appreciate every prayer and every penny that you have generously donated. Now, we are moving forward to support the epicenter of the earthquake, Gorkha District, where over 50% of the houses have been destroyed and everyone is displaced. Unfortunately, relief efforts have been terribly slow to reach Gorkha. The University of Washington Nepal Studies Initiative and the Nepalese Student Association are working to coordinate relief efforts at the University of Washington.

Please donate today:

How:     Nepalese Student Association


Info:       For information and questions, please email: uwnepal@uw.edu

The Nepalese Student Association will donate all proceeds to “Bhume Jankalyan Samaj” (meaning Bhume Welfare Society) a local Nepal-based non-profit organization providing immediate and long-term relief in Gorkha District. Funds will be used for food, shelter, blankets, toilets, water filters, and other relief efforts.

Please stand with us in this time of need,

Nepal Studies Initiative Team


By |April 30th, 2015|Nepal News, News|0 Comments

From remote Nepal, a warning against ahistorical disaster relief

UW Nepal Studies Initiative co-director David Citrin is in Nepal right now. He recently compiled his thoughts in the immediate aftermath for a thoughtful article for Humanosphere and includes in it advice for supporting Nepal’s recovery.

The question at hand now is what to do, and what not do. Here, I humbly offer some guiding principles, and compile my and others’ thoughts on ways to channel efforts and resources:

  1. Coordination. The deluge of international aid and relief efforts already underway in Nepal are rooted in global citizenry, in personal connections to Nepal, in love and in sadness. This challenge of coordination will be nearly as herculean as the heroic relief efforts to rescue those still trapped under rubble, and to treat the 10,000+ injured. Nepal is a country already brimming with NGOs; some put the actual figure at around40,000, constituting what the late Nepali anthropologist Saubhagya Shah referred to as a veritable “NGOdom.” The efforts of international relief organizations and NGOs will need to be systematically coordinated: we must act with conviction, but we must act together, lest we run the risk of tectonically colliding with one another, collapsing the potential multiplicative effect of our efforts.
  1. Transparency. We must heed the lessons learned from the 2010 earthquake that devastated Port Au Prince, where only 1% of the 3.6 billion dollars that went to Haiti through international donors for immediate disaster relief and recovery went to the government. Online one can already see the pleas to avoid giving money to the Nepali government for fear of corruption and misuse. We must reject these claims; this is a matter of autonomy and governance. Ultimately it will be the Nepali government charged with […]
By |April 29th, 2015|Nepal News|0 Comments

Successful Nepal Studies Initiative Spring Quarter 2015 Planning Meeting

On April 9th, 2015, the Nepal Studies Initiative team successfully held its first open planning meeting. 20 people attended the event, including students from the Nepal Student Association, representatives from the Nepal Seattle Society, and faculty from a range of interdisciplinary subjects. Topics discussed included plans for the Nepal Studies Initiative’s first course in Autumn 2015, upcoming speaker series, and opportunities for expanded programming.

NSI_sprmtg1          NSI_sprmtg2

By |April 10th, 2015|Nepal News|0 Comments

Nepal Studies Initiative Launches!


The South Asia Center at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies is pleased to announce the launch of the University of Washington Nepal Studies Initiative, funded in part by a Title VI US Department of Education National Resource Center grant.

The Nepal Studies Initiative serves as an academic home for Nepal studies, and a base for students, faculty, professionals, and community members in the Pacific Northwest with scholarly ties to and interest in Nepal. Originally called the UW Nepal Group, the Initiative was formed in 2013 in response to a critical mass of students and faculty from an impressive range of disciplines and departments with a collective desire to make Nepal a more prominent part of South Asia studies, and the broader UW community in general.

The UW Nepal Studies Initiative seeks to foster inclusive engagement with scholars, student groups (such as the UW Nepalese Student Association), and other Nepal and Himalayan studies centers as we further develop our programs. Please do reach out to us to share your ideas and interests; and please join us in planning next steps as we deepen existing connections between the UW and Nepal.


By |March 13th, 2015|Nepal News|0 Comments