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How aerial mapping can strengthen flood response

Jul 2022

High-resolution post-disaster aerial imagery, captured as soon as possible, gets your eyes on the ground to assess and kickstart disaster recovery efforts.

Jul 2022

Queensland and NSW have seen torrential flooding from unprecedented rainfall recently — a result of La Niña. These weather events can often catch us off guard, but with the right tools, you can instil confidence in your response. Our thoughts are with those affected as focus shifts to a quick, seamless recovery.
With over 100,000 insurance claims filed and up to $2B in damage reported, Nearmap has captured the devastating effects of the flooding in an attempt to provide eyes on the ground to help with the triaging of claims, mapping of evacuation routes, and more.

Aerial imagery for disaster response

When disaster strikes, priority #1 is finding safety — without delay. But when you’ve got an entire community to monitor, time is of the essence. The data you rely on to respond can make the difference between total loss, and repairable damage.
With a proactive aerial capture program in place, you can monitor how an entire area has been affected by a disaster, in near real-time. Nearmap ImpactResponse is a comprehensive tool that property insurers, emergency response teams and government agencies can rely on for the most up-to-date insights following a major weather emergency.
High-resolution imagery, captured as soon as able, means you get eyes on the ground to assess your current position and kickstart recovery efforts:
  • Triage damage in order of priority by understanding what areas were hit the hardest
  • Pinpoint and annotate ingress routes for repair teams from your desktop or tablet
  • Assess the extent of damage, right down to the property boundary
  • Identify areas that may present risk during recovery efforts (like damaged solar panels)
ImpactResponse imagery is often uploaded within days of capture, meaning you can get response efforts underway before conditions even clear.

Aerial imagery for disaster preparation

Beyond your initial response, there are steps you can take to ensure that you’re equipped for the next risk event. Nearmap aerial imagery is updated frequently, up to 6 times per year, meaning you can cross-compare pre-disaster captures with post-disaster imagery to plan with certainty. Don’t wait to simply respond, stay one step ahead with the right risk assessment tools.

Risk Evaluation and Mitigation

Evaluating and mitigating risk is key to reducing the effects of a future extreme weather event. Understanding how your surrounding environment comes into play can help you identify the factors that may need attention in order to minimise future impact, like excessive vegetation or blocked roads and entry points.
Disaster Relief Australia (DRA), a not for profit organisation that aids in deploying relief teams following natural weather emergencies, harnesses the power of aerial imagery to strengthen their response. In southern NSW, the town of Mogo — which suffered extreme damage during the black summer bushfires — stood out to the team at DRA as being susceptible to localised flood risk.
Under community guidance, two debris-filled choke points were identified — a result of burnt trees and vegetation from past fires. DRA determined that these choke points had potential to significantly alter water flow during a flood.
Choke points identified as areas of concern for accelerating the effects of a future flood
With high-res aerial captures from Nearmap, the team at DRA were able to create a flood model simulating the potential effects of a future disaster, and it was clear that if these choke points weren’t addressed, there would be severe physical and financial loss in the future.
Simulated model showing potential flood reach, the red circle pinpoints the central business area of Mogo, NSW

“Disaster Relief Australia would look to mobilise the community to conduct service projects aimed at mitigating the flood risk, by clearing the water course and removing debris.”

Brent Hoade,National Aerial Damage Assessment Team Manager, Disaster Relief Australia

Emergency Evacuation Plan

Moving residents to safety before disaster strikes is crucial, but without a solid emergency evacuation procedure in place, this could prove difficult. Nearmap ImpactResponse can help you spend less time coordinating ground teams, clearing debris and determining how to evacuate those affected, and more time on proactively mapping plans. Pre-event imagery provides you the insights needed to understand what areas may suffer more than others in the future — allowing you to coordinate evacuations in advance, and in order of priority.
Easy tools for measurement and annotation can also help you to create a single plan of evacuation that all team members can reference, including meeting points, water sources and helicopter landing zones. In these plans, you could include the accurate height of trees, power poles and buildings, which need to be factored in for an effective ground response.
Evacuation routes and meeting points planned using annotation tools in MapBrowser
To learn more about how Nearmap can streamline your emergency response and help you plan, visit Nearmap ImpactResponse.