Saint Louis University GIS Lab Works to Prevent Flooding in Florissant, St. Louis County
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Saint Louis University GIS Lab Works to Prevent Flooding in Florissant, St. Louis County

September 12, 2005 -- ST. LOUIS -- The images of the flooding and devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina bring to mind images of the Flood of 1993 for many St. Louisans. Florissant was one of the many Missouri and Illinois cities affected by the floodwaters of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

The city of Florissant is partnering with Saint Louis University's Norman J. Stupp Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Lab to make sure that piece of history never repeats itself. Over the next year, SLU's Stupp GIS Lab will finish the fourth phase of its project for Florissant, mapping the city's location next to the Missouri River, and Coldwater Creek taking note wetlands and other barriers from flooding.

"The parallels between Florissant and New Orleans as cities are really remarkable," said Gary Higgs, Stupp GIS Lab director. "Both cities have similar settings - next to a major body of water and significant drainage and hydrography challenges."

Higgs said the City has been a been eager to use green - or environmentally friendly - engineering, and working with nature instead of against it.

"We've tried to manage developments more intelligently, such as buffering new development projects right up against the river or major creeks" said Scott J. Smith, city engineer for the city of Florissant. "These new surveys with the latest integrated floodplain maps that the Stupp GIS Lab will conduct will help us continue to plan our city more responsibly."

"We're pleased to collaborate with Saint Louis University on this project," said Florissant Mayor Robert G. Lowery, Sr. "We want to make sure that the city of Florissant does all it can to prevent the flooding that occurred in 1993, and Saint Louis University's assistance is vital in this project."

Members of the lab will survey Florissant, take 360-degree photographs of bridges and creeks around the city and compile them into an interactive map for the city.

Located in SLU's College of Public Service, the Norman J. Stupp GIS Lab is a state-of-the-art computer-imaging center for analyzing, processing and displaying spatial data.

Saint Louis University is a Jesuit, Catholic university ranked among the top research institutions in the nation. The University fosters the intellectual and character development of 11,500 students on campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Founded in 1818, it is the oldest university west of the Mississippi and the second oldest Jesuit university in the United States. Through teaching, research, health care and community service, Saint Louis University is the place where knowledge touches lives. Learn more about SLU at

Rachel Doyle
Phone: 314.977.2538
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