Indonesia: Post Disaster Needs Assessment Data Collection Mobile App

Innovation Areas: APP
Stage: Early stage

Data collection mobile App for disaster risk reduction

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The problem addressed

Tools are not available to collect information post disasters that allows immediate analysis. Paper-based data collections at the wake of natural disasters have been the common practice for the volunteering enumerators coordinated under the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB). The loop-holes of this practice include a major margin of error, delay period from the time that data is being collected to the time that it takes to carry-out analysis. The latter is often caused by the width of areas affected by natural disasters. 

The intervention

Drawing from the enabling environment where the majority of the communities in Indonesia have access to mobile phones, the Country Office embarked on the development of a data collection mobile application. The mobile application works with the most popular Android mobile operating system that can easily be downloaded by the volunteers subject to granted access from BNPB. It is simple to manage as it can be downloaded through Android mobile phones commonly used throughout the country. This mobile application is linked directly to the BNPB data server to enable quick extraction for automatic data analysis. 

The partners

Our main counterpart in the prototyping exercise is BNPB while we also worked together with three IT consultants to develop the application. The National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) has also been involved from the beginning of the mobile application development as the Ministry plays a pivotal role in budget approval for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Action Plan. Post application development, we are also aiming to involve the two aforementioned line ministries alongside the World Bank, national-based NGOs, CSOs, and universities to carry-out simulation that will test the use of PDNA-DSS in the field. 


Enabling BNPB to respond more quickly and minimize the margin of error from paper-based data collection at the wake of natural disasters. Subsequently, this will enable BNPB to coordinate immediate humanitarian responses for the affected population. Indonesia is considered as one of the most disaster prone countries in the world due to its position on the seismic plates. There were 84 flood and land slide, 51 tidal wave, 20 earthquake, 13 volcano eruption, 1,015 storm surge, 753 landslide and two tsunami incidents recorded in the country from 2013 until 2014.  Nine out of 10 Indonesians have access to mobile phones. The analysis of time-efficiency for the use of the application concluded that the automated data collection tool will reduce the time processing period from six weeks to merely four weeks and a half, as there are some steps on the assumptions of data cost and calculation could be generated immediately when the assessment is conducted. 

Lessons identified

Time constraint of the prototyping especially for simulation was one of the major challenges experienced during the exercise. The integration of the application had taken longer time than anticipated due to the lengthy coordination work with BNPB. In addition, the simulation which needs to be carried out following the finalization of the manual/user guidelines has also suffered from the long review time from the various BNPB directorates. Learning from these challenges, it is critical to develop a very detailed project timeline that allows for key activities and/or outputs to be implemented, monitored, and reported post the prototyping period. There is also a need to improve the working aloud component of the prototyping exercise especially given the allocated extra budget at US$5,000 from the award. 

Contact person

Lulu Muhammad: 

Christian Budi Usfinit: 

Teuku Rahmatsyah: 

Gina Meutia:

Related materials

Timeline: Post-disaster needs assessment data collection mobile app

Blog: How a low-tech mobile app is changing the way Indonesia responds to disasters


$20,000 USD

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