The Ongoing Journey of JBA Flood Maps

At JBA we recognise the importance of the most detailed and current data required for flood risk assessment. That’s why we have a robust update programme for all our global flood maps.

We also understand the shifting and complex nature of flooding and the critical need for data that is truly useful. Our objective is to provide the highest quality flood data that empowers our client’s decision making. And of course, these flood maps underpin our work in developing flood models and event set data on a global scale.

The Art of Flood Mapping

Creating comprehensive flood maps is a sophisticated process that integrates multiple layers of data, including bare earth terrain information, hydrological inputs such as rainfall estimates and river flows, and human factors like land use and defences. There is opportunity to engage Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the process and extensive work has been going on behind the scenes to explore this but it requires discipline and experience from a broad team of flood risk experts to ensure that our maps are the best they can be for our clients.

Global Reach, Local Detail

Alongside our regular annual UK and Republic of Ireland updates, JBA has updated flood maps for numerous other countries and the programme continues. More recent updates include China, Japan, Hungary, Canada, Thailand, Vietnam, Poland, Slovakia, and India. These updates enable enhanced resolution  for increased flood risk detail and greater relevance by incorporating the most recent data available for the specific areas. Many areas also benefit from new terrain data or defence data which can have a significant impact on outcomes.

Highlights from Recent Flood Map Updates

  • China: Key areas of interest received special attention in our most recent update and included new Digital Terrain Data (DTM), improved river and surface water classification and updated defences and land use - all of which have significant impact on flood risk outcomes.
  • Japan: The most recent work involved an extensive update of local defence information across the whole of Japan as well as improvements to DTM with 100% of the country now covered by bare earth terrain data, enhancing flood risk identification and clarity especially in urban areas.
  • Canada: The latest Canada maps incorporate latest government lidar DTM significantly increasing the terrain definition for more than 80% of the population and enhancing the flood hazard detail.
  • India, Thailand, Vietnam: Recent updates have introduced more refined DTM and updated land use information using the latest available data to indicate land roughness which influences how water is likely to spread across the ground.
  • Hungary, Poland and Slovakia: Updates focussed on using government lidar DTM and refining flood defence data. Using lidar data provides the highest level of vertical accuracy of the terrain and enables us to define detail around river channels and topography more clearly.

Looking ahead

JBA's ongoing map update programme is not just about refining what we have; it's about looking ahead and preparing for future challenges in flood risk management. As climate patterns evolve and landscapes change, and new methodologies are considered, our commitment to updating our global flood maps ensures that our clients always have access to market-leading, high-quality flood risk data to help mitigate the impacts of flooding worldwide.

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