New Mapper Opens Access to Flood Planning in New York State
A new, accessible mapping tool will make it easier for individuals and communities to plan for flooding and sea level rise. Developed by NASA’s Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) at the Columbia Climate School CIESIN, the Mapper visualizes spatial data for infrastructure in almost all of New York State, excluding New York City. The application of the New York Flood Impact Support System (NYS FIDSS) is unique because it contains digitized data for each building footprint in the included areas. It is highly interactive and accessible, ensuring that historically underrepresented communities can create comprehensive flood scenarios for planning, response and policy development.
NYS FIDSS Mapper’s simple interface means users don’t need GIS knowledge or complex software – just internet access. This expands the pool of potential users and enables communities with fewer resources to improve their flood planning capabilities, in line with the objectives of the new NASA Open Science initiative to more openly share software, data and knowledge to advance inclusiveness and improve social justice. The Mapper includes a data set based on the Centers for Disease Control Social Vulnerability Index, allowing users to visualize the social vulnerability of flood-affected areas. The index displays detailed information about the social conditions of the people in a particular area, including economic level, who is part of the household, minority status, places of residence, ability to understand English and access to transport – details of social life that can provide fundamental insight into the relative vulnerability of a population. This can help target flood planning resources and help areas that need it most, before, during or after a flood.
The NYS FIDSS Mapper is based on project results New York State Building Footprints with Flood Analysis, which provides infrastructure data for all New York counties except New York City. It also includes data for areas bordering the lower Hudson River valley and the coastline of Long Island Sound in Westchester, from the Hudson River Flood Impact Decision Support Systema flood assessment mapping tool developed by CIESIN with the support of NYSERDA. The mapper also provides layers of local-level infrastructure, flooding, and socio-economic data from the Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast (CCRUN), whose members of academia, including CIESIN, have conducted stakeholder-focused research to reduce climate vulnerability in urban areas of the northeastern United States, with support from NOAA.