Research in programming Wikidata/Natural disaster

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This chapter is devoted to the study of natural disaster properties based on the knowledge base of the Wikidata international project. SPARQL queries were used in order to analyze and compute "natural disaster" objects on Wikidata. A list of all natural disasters and their types was built. A list of all earthquakes was constructed and their number in each country was calculated. In addition, the conclusions regarding the completeness of Wikidata on this topic are stated.

List of natural disasters[edit]

Let's list all natural disasters.

#added 2017-02
#List of `instances of` "natural disaster" 
SELECT ?disaster ?disasterLabel
    ?disaster wdt:P31 wd:Q8065.
    SERVICE wikibase:label { bd:serviceParam wikibase:language "en" }

SPARQL query, 16 results.

👍 Examples of the most complete and well-developed natural disasters on the Wikidata: 2002 European floods, May 2004 Caribbean floods, Christmas flood of 1717.

👎 Almost empty and uninformative natural disasters: 2013 China–Russia floods, 2007 Nevelsk earthquake, 2012 Krasnodar Krai floods.

Types of natural disasters[edit]

Construct a table with the number of natural disasters by types of catastrophes.

#added 2017-02
SELECT ?d ?name (count(*) as ?count)
    ?disaster wdt:P31 wd:Q8065.  #is "instance of" natural disaster
    ?disaster wdt:P31 ?d. 
		?d rdfs:label ?name 
		filter (lang(?name) = "en")
GROUP BY ?d ?name
ORDER BY DESC(?count) ASC(?name)

SPARQL query 9 Results

Types of catastrophes were obtained: flood, earthquake, landslide, drought, storm surge.

Completeness of Wikidata[edit]

According to the training manual "Basic safety training and first aid" [1], natural disasters can be divided into:

  • Meteorological - storm, hurricane, tornado, cyclone, frost, drought, extraordinary heat, fire.
  • Telluric and tectonic - volcanic eruption, earthquake.
  • Topological - flood, mudslides, landslips, avalanche.

In the sources one can find different classifications of natural disasters, so it is difficult to calculate the precise number of types of disasters.

Nine types of natural disasters are received, by means of SPARQL script. As a result of the script represented floods, earthquakes, landslides, drought, from the book Aizman. [1] There are no storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, frosts, unusual heat, fires, volcanic eruptions, mudflows and snow falls in this book. As a result of the script it turned out that on Wikidata most presented floods (seven). The least represented are droughts, earthquakes and landslides (one).

the most number of disasters at wikidata belong to the types: floods and landslides by classification presented in the book of Aizaman, [1] and the smallest number of disasters belong to the types: storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, frosts, an extraordinary heat, the fires.

According to the category "Natural disasters" of Russian Wikipedia, there are 10 types of natural disasters. According to the category "Natural disasters" of the English Wikipedia, there are 15 types of natural disasters.


Chart of the number of earthquakes by countries before filling in Wikidata objects (March 21, 2017)
Chart of the number of earthquakes by countries after filling in Wikidata objects (March 23, 2017)

Let's build a list of all earthquakes.

#added 2017-03
#List of `instances of` "earthquake" 
SELECT ?d ?name
    ?d wdt:P31 wd:Q7944.
		?d rdfs:label ?name 
		filter (lang(?name) = "en")

SPARQL query 1547 Results

Calculate the number of earthquakes by country.

#added 2017-03
#List of `instances of` "earthquake" 
SELECT ?countryLabel (count(?earthquake) as ?count)
    ?earthquake wdt:P31 wd:Q7944.
    ?earthquake wdt:P17 ?country. 

    SERVICE wikibase:label { bd:serviceParam wikibase:language "en" }
  GROUP BY ?country ?countryLabel
  ORDER BY DESC (?count)

SPARQL query 72 Results

Completeness of Wikidata[edit]

By means of the first SPARQL script 1547 records are received. According to the textbook "General geology for ecologists" [2] during one year around 100 strong earthquakes occur in the world, therefore on Wikidata there are records of the most famous and strongest earthquakes in the world. Seismographs register more than 100 thousand earthquakes per year. [2]

By means of the second SPARQL script Wikidata contains information about earthquakes in 72 countries. America, Japan, China have the maximum number of earthquakes: 76, 51 and 31, respectively. The fewest are in the countries: Romania, Palestine, Slovenia.

The are two earthquakes in Russia: Earthquake in Baikal (2008), Neftegorsk earthquake.

According to RIA Novosti [3] there are six earthquakes in 2013, five in 2012, three in 2011. These are only the most famous earthquakes.

According to category "Earthquakes in Russia" of the Russian Wikipedia there are 27 earthquakes which have occurred in Russia. According to the category "Earthquakes in Russia" on the English Wikipedia there are 14 objects.

We filled in the Wikidata objects that corresponded to earthquakes, 1568 records were received. Now Wikidata contains 30 earthquakes which occur in Russia. Also, the number of earthquakes in other countries increased on the Wikidata: Romania, Moldova, Nepal, People's Republic of China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Croatia, Uzbegistan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Slovenia, Italy, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Portugal, Algeria, New Zealand, Bhutan, Philippines, Japan, Greece, Guatemala, Venezuela. Number of countries with earthquakes on Wikidata increased from 72 to 82.

Future work[edit]

  1. Calculate the number of floods for each country and display the result in a diagram.
  2. Find the year with the largest number of floods.
  3. Create a top-10 of natural disasters which have caused to people the most economic damage.


1 Choose what magnitude (on the Richter scale) corresponds to the earthquakes which have occurred in Russia.

6.3 7.3 7.6
2003 Altai earthquake
Earthquake in Baikal (2008)
1995 Neftegorsk earthquake

2 Indicate the floods in which most people died, in order of increasing mortality.

1 (4000000) 2 (900000) 3 (2000) 4 (246)
1938 Yellow River flood
Great Mississippi Flood of 1927
1931 China floods
May 2004 Caribbean floods

3 Write the name of the country in which there were floods presented in photos:

2013 Flood in Sichuan Flooding, Shenzhen, China Bundesarchiv Bild 102-12231, China, Überschwemmungsopfer

SPARQL-questions with answers:


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Aizaman 2002, p. 112.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Konstantinovskaya 2010.
  3. Earthquakes in Russia 2000-2013.