12 March 2018

Devastating flooding once again took place in the North Queensland region. The Bureau of Meteorology had issued major flood warnings for quite a few river catchments, including:

  • Herbert River
  • Murray River
  • Tully River
  • Johnstone River
  • Russell River
  • Mulgrave River

Among the regional cities and towns affected, Ingham has suffered the most damage as reported in the main news media:

  • “About 90 per cent of homes have been impacted in the northern town of Ingham, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Sunday.” (Source)
  • “More than 200 homes inundated as Ingham flood peaks” (Source)
  • “A disaster situation was declared by the State Government…” (Source)

This blog summarises three levels of information products we have developed for this event. As related content has been posted and shared on social media in response to the evolving disastrous event, we make links here for the convenience of readers who wish to follow the event from multiple perspectives and learn what we are creating. (Now with the developed cloud-based geospatial big data and analytics platform, we aim to routinely produce similar information products for future major / extreme events in Australia and around the world.)

Level 1: Earth Observation & Imagery Analysis

Satellite and aerial imagery immediately before, during and soon after the event is actively sought. Currently, main sources include the 10m-resolution Sentinel-2 and 15m-resolution Landsat-8 satellite imagery. We have developed advanced, automated and unique image processing workflows to present the imagery and extract relevant thematic information of interest.

Level 2: Integrated Location Profile Report

The report contains metrics on the environment, property location and hazard risk, including elevation, slope, surface water flow directions, vegetation, climate, population and property. Such readily-produced metrics and insights are important for applications in emergency, insurance, etc. when making informed location decisions. We have recently enhanced the location profile report (v4.1, 2018) by including a wide range of methods that allow us to examine the spatial and temporal dimensions of underlying exposure (e.g. building stocks, infrastructure assets and sum insured). At this stage, we are able to produce PDF reports (~40 pages) for each location in Australia and reports (~12 pages) for any location elsewhere.

Level 3: Hazard-specific Animation and Simulation

To better reveal the dynamic nature of many hazardous events, map-based animation has been a very effective communication tool. For flood events, we produce two types of simulations for investigating flood-prone areas: (1) by changing elevation, and (2) by modelled water depth. More information on this can be found here.

For future events and reporting, we will follow the above format and try to deliver the three levels of information products. We constantly enhance the cloud-based platform by including new content, analytics and delivery means. For users who are interested in creating similar or customised platforms, please stay in touch.