FloodVision®

Resilient Communities Start Here

Did you know that 40% of Americans live along our nation's coasts? Coastal flooding made worse by rising sea levels already impacts the lives of 129 million coastal residents. What if these communities had the ability to see how flood risk is increasingly affecting their neighborhoods, their schools, their roads, even their homes?

Climate Central has developed an innovative tool that makes the impact of climate change visible before the next disaster strikes.

As we drive the Flood Vision® vehicle ("FloodRover") through coastal communities, we scan the streets to collect video, laser, and elevation data. Then, using artificial intelligence, we can generate photorealistic flood and sea level rise visualizations with precision. We believe that FloodVision presents an important opportunity to drive action on coastal resiliency at a time when climate change is posing an increasing threat to people around the country.
FloodVision Original Image 2024

Click to download custom graphics

Original image
FloodVision image mapping

Click to download custom graphics

FloodVision image mapping
FL FtLauderdale 20230303-FtLauderdale-Day1 3 0035790 IntHigh-50-2050-RL10 render (2)

Click to download custom graphics

Modeled Visualization: FloodVision future flood projections
FloodVision Slider Image
FloodVision widget with movable before-after slider, projecting future flood levels based on set

FloodVision can help: #

  • Use compelling visuals to communicate areas at risk during approaching storm events
  • Identify threats to evacuation routes, fire stations, health care units, senior living and other critical facilities
  • Advance storytelling about long-term climate impacts to coastal communities
  • Enhance risk communication
  • Identify threats to evacuation routes, fire stations, health care units, senior living and other critical facilities
  • Enhance effective budgetary decision-making for infrastructure at risk
  • Identify properties suitable for climate-driven relocation
  • Support equitable decision making, allowing leaders to prioritize funding for mitigation and flood-proofing for affordable housing and vulnerable populations
  • Use visuals to facilitate proactive, community-led conversations about climate relocation
  • Prioritize residences and structures for voluntary buyout and acquisition programs
  • Integrate science-based data and visualizations into regional and municipal plans (such as comprehensive plans, hazard mitigation plans, climate action plans, capital improvement plans, and watershed plans)
  • Use detailed visualizations to improve flood risk assessments and planning.
  • Enhance effective budgetary decision-making for infrastructure
  • Support equitable decision making, allowing leaders to prioritize funding for mitigation and flood-proofing for affordable housing and vulnerable populations
  • Prioritize structures and areas for voluntary buyout and acquisition programs
  • Science-based data and visualizations can be used in seeking grants and other government funding for adaptation and preparedness
  • Identify threats to evacuation routes , major road arteries, and critical infrastructure
  • Determine where to stage critical emergency response and recovery resources
  • Ensure effective budgetary decision-making for hazard mitigation
  • Determine evacuation shelters at risk, including civic centers, churches, schools, hospitals, etc.
  • Science-based data and visualizations can be used in seeking grants and other government funding for emergency preparedness
  • Enhance risk communication to general public
  • Identify threats to coastal residential and commercial properties
  • Use visualizations to communicate risk levels to insurance holders in coastal areas

Clouds ‘Cool Earth Less Than Once Thought’
S4A9817-2

Edge of America Tour

In June, Climate Central will embark on the Edge of America Tour– a groundbreaking expedition from Maine to Texas that will empower communities with vital insights into coastal flooding and sea level rise.

Frequently Asked Questions #

Our FloodVision vehicles are outfitted with four cameras. This allows simultaneous capture of images of structures from both sides of the street, including homes and buildings, and road infrastructure. The stereoscopic images are overlaid with lidar data (Light Detection and Ranging). Lidar sensors emit light pulses that bounce off objects and return to the sensor, which calculates the distance each pulse traveled. The sensor repeats this process millions of times per second to create a real-time map. Then GPS elevation data is added to the 3D image. Under optimal conditions (such as good sky visibility), this produces more precise visualizations.

Similar to our Coastal Risk Screening Tool, which allows users to select water levels based on different emissions pathways, timeframes, and flood types, images from FloodVision will be adjustable, with water rising or falling to reflect different scenarios. So for example, any one image frame can show a variety of visualizations, based on various sea level rise or flood level parameters.

Climate Central’s prior sets of photo-realistic flooding visuals have been among our most effective communication tools to show what is at stake. FloodVision now automates and scales their production.

The effectiveness of our visualizations rests on a foundation of scientific precision. FloodVision’s visuals depict authoritative local sea level and flood projections, and also display water level with centimeter-level precision. Neither the data needed to do this at a large scale nor affordable integrated instrumentation to collect such data currently exist. We have thus prototyped and validated our own custom assembly and the software engineering needed to process the data it collects and to generate our target imagery on demand.

The scientists at Climate Central have developed an innovative tool that incorporates stereoscopic cameras (which show dimension) mounted on a vehicle, artificial intelligence, and lidar sensor data to estimate the entry floor elevations of buildings and structures. As we drive the FloodVision vehicle through coastal communities, we can generate photorealistic flood and sea level visualizations with precision.

The photorealistic images generated by FloodVision can be useful for anyone who is looking to help engage community members to prepare for flood risk from storms and rising seas. Climate Central has already used FloodVision when working with emergency preparedness personnel and first responders, planners and adaptation professionals, local officials, media outlets, and community organizations supporting resilience efforts.

FloodVision can enhance risk communication, identify threats to evacuation routes and ensure effective budgetary decision-making for infrastructure. FloodVision can also be an important tool when complemented with data from Climate Central's Risk Finder to support equitable decision making, allowing community members and local leaders to prioritize funding for adaptation and flood-proofing for affordable housing, important cultural sites, and vulnerable populations.

Once the FloodRover collects data from a location, it will take approximately 2 weeks to deliver the images to media outlets or community leaders who are interested in using FloodVision images.

The Climate Central team has already collected data and images in numerous locations in several states, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. If reporters or meteorologists are interested in visuals in these coastal areas, please contact Peter Girard pgirard@climatecentral.org or Allison Kopicki at akopicki@climatecentral.org.

For an example of reporting using FloodVision, here’s a LINK to VIDEO from First Coast News in Jacksonville, Fla.

Currently, Climate Central is working with a number of states and municipalities and NGOs to license FloodVision services. Government officials or other entities seeking comprehensive licensing options for flood visualizations and elevation analysis across towns, cities, or regions can also contact us here.

Related Tools & Projects