New maps show building-by-building extent of Hurricane Sandy flooding

February 12, 2013 -- A new set of map-based visualizations by John Nelson of data visualization company IDV Solutions shows the extent of flooding in the New York City area following Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. The detailed maps show how individual buildings fared, and how the storm surge compared to previous forecasts of flood risk in the area.

Teams of FEMA investigators scoured New York City for high water marks directly after the storm, and combined their findings with data from flood gauges to find the boundaries of the inundation following “super storm” Sandy. Nelson overlaid this data on a map of the city that shows the footprints of individual buildings.

Additional maps show flooding predictions from the US Army Corps of Engineers models, and how these compare to the actual effects of the hurricane.

“When you’re creating a model, you need to assume an impossibly generic storm,” Nelson said. “A real storm, though, has a unique combination of characteristics and angles of approach, so the reality will always look somewhat different than the predicted risk zones. It’s interesting to see where Sandy’s effect was different from the model, and where the model overlaps with reality.”

Viewers can examine the maps in detail, zooming out for an overview of the affected areas or drilling down close enough to find individual buildings.

About IDV Solutions
IDV Solutions is a data visualization software company that helps organizations discover opportunity, identify risk, and take action. By repeatedly solving key problems for customers in the Global 2000 and government, IDV and its products have earned a reputation for innovation, speed, and the highest quality user experience. For more information, please visit

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