A satellite image-based map shows how drastically Kathmandu city changed.

Nepal is slowly picking up the pieces after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck last week. The disaster brought the country to its knees—causing a Himalayan avalanche, reducing much of Kathmandu city and surrounding villages to rubble, and killing thousands.

As rescue and relief operations pick up pace, new mapping efforts try to help guide aid workers. This swipe-able map showing Kathmandu city before and after the earthquake is one such project. The map, created by the GIS software company Esri, provides a window into the quake's devastation for all of us who aren't directly affected by it.

Esri developed the map using images gathered by the Pléiades satellite, and acquired by Airbus Defence and Space (the section of the Airbus company that deals with defense- and space-related products and services). Airbus compared snapshots of Kathmandu taken on November 29, 2014, with those taken on April 27, 2015, two days after the quake, so international disaster management agencies could take stock of the damage.

Swipe to see how starkly different these areas around Kathmandu's two key historical sites looked following the quake, for example:


Esri also compiled all such images from the two days into one map of the entire city, pinpointing the sites affected by the quake. (The red dots in the map below show the ones that have suffered major damage, for example; the purple ones show the buildings that have been completely destroyed.)

While the rest of the world moves on, the Esri map serves as an important visual reminder that the Nepalese are still reeling from the effects of the powerful earthquake, and will be for some time. Check out the map here:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of a cyclist on the streets of Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.
    Equity

    Can Historic Preservation Cool Down a Hot Neighborhood?

    The new plan to landmark Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood aims to protect more than just buildings: It’s designed to curb gentrification.

  2. A cat lays flat on a bench at a park on the outskirts of Tokyo.
    Life

    Why Don't Americans Use Their Parks at Night?

    Most cities aren’t fond of letting people use parks after dark. But there are good lifestyle, environmental, and safety reasons to reconsider.

  3. Rows of machinery with long blue tubes and pipes seen at a water desalination plant.
    Environment

    A Water-Stressed World Turns to Desalination

    Desalination is increasingly being used to provide drinking water around the globe. But it remains expensive and creates its own environmental problems.

  4. a photo of a woman covering her ears on a noisy NYC subway platform
    Life

    My Quixotic Quest for Quiet in New York City

    In a booming city, the din of new construction and traffic can be intolerable. Enter Hush City, an app to map the sounds of silence.   

  5. Design

    What Cities Can Do to Help Birds and Bees Survive

    Pollinators—the wildlife that shuffle pollen between flowers—are being decimated. But they may still thrive with enough help from urban humans.

×