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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

The value of flood mapping

January 30th, 2014 by Susan Smith

According to the Fraser Coast Chronicle, of Queensland, Australia, the Bundaberg Regional Council embraced mapping technology in order to save lives of flood victims during the Bundaberg tornados a year ago in January 2013. This is now the anniversary of the disaster, when six tornados struck in and around Bundaberg. The GIS technology employed provided rescue teams with critical and timely information for evacuations, rescues, food drops, and the ensuing clean-up.

In the article, GIS Delivery and Support team leader Steven Bowden said the technology was a crucial part of its operation to evacuate more than 6,000 people from the areas of North and East Bundaberg. “Council has been working with Esri Australia in leveraging GIS technology across different business areas for the past five years,” Mr Bowden said.

Floods hit the regions in 2010 and 2013, when the technology delivered up-to-date information while the floods were happening. GIS was used for all tactical and operational decision-making, situational awareness, strategic planning and rescue efforts as well as engaging the public.

Other organizations such as the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the Salvation Army and the Red Cross, plus Rapid Damage Assessment (RDA) data from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) were able to utilize the data generated by the GIS technology, and also to use the technology to deliver emergency messages to those who were in life-threatening danger during the disaster.

Bundaberg Regional Council has revealed more details of their 2013 flood experience in the GIS in Local Government Benchmark Study.

The Study – a joint collaboration between the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute and Esri Australia – found 76 per cent of councils use GIS technology when planning for an emergency; 75 per cent use it to guide their response; and 68 per cent rely on it to aid recovery.

For further information about the Study or to download a copy, visit

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Categories: geospatial, GIS

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