Benefit of flood mapping technology comes to light

AS THE anniversary of the 2013 Bundaberg flood approaches, Bundaberg Regional Council has for the first time revealed the critical role cutting-edge mapping technology played in saving thousands of flood victims.

When six tornados struck in and around Bundaberg in January 2013, Bundaberg Regional Council turned to Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to provide rescue teams with instant information for evacuations, rescues, food drops, and the ensuing clean-up.

GIS Delivery and Support team leader Steven Bowden said the technology was a crucial part of its operation to evacuate more than 6,000 people from the areas of North and East Bundaberg.

"Council has been working with Esri Australia in leveraging GIS technology across different business areas for the past five years," Mr Bowden said.

"But it was when the floods hit in 2010 and 2013 that the technology truly delivered its greatest value by providing us with an up-to-date view of the situation as it was unfolding.

"In this way, GIS technology improved all of our tactical and operational decision-making, situational awareness, strategic planning, community engagement and rescue efforts."

Mr Bowden being able to share information was vital during the flood crisis.

"It was crucial for us at council, as well as other organisations such as the Australian Defence Force (ADF), The Salvation Army and The Red Cross," he said.

"It also enabled us to receive information from other organisations, particularly Rapid Damage Assessment (RDA) data from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES)."

Mr Bowden said the council also used GIS technology to deliver critical emergency messages for those in trouble during the disaster.

"We used GIS technology to define the boundaries of areas affected by the incident," Mr Bowden said.

"These geographic locators then allowed council to issue State Government Emergency Alerts to the residents of Winfield - on Baffle Creek - warning them of impending flooding.

"The Emergency Alert system produced an automatic voice message to all identified landline telephone services, within the defined geographic area, notifying them of the approaching danger."

Andrew Highley, Esri Australia Business Manager, said during the crisis, GIS technology was critical in identifying where community members needed help.

"Council used the technology to map the locations of requests for assistance from the Disaster Coordination Centre Hotline," Mr Highley said.

"Councils could then locate where community members were and what assistance they required - such as whether they were trapped by the flood or if they had no access to food.

"Response agencies such as State Emergency Services, QFES, Queensland Police Service, Queensland Ambulance Service, and helicopter assets could then be dispatched to respond to the situation.

"Comprehensive maps for the ADF were also generated to find suitable landing sites for food drops, as well as maps of exclusion zones, traffic management plans, critical infrastructure, mud army marshalling and route maps."

Bundaberg Regional Council has revealed more details of their 2013 flood experience in the GIS in Local Government Benchmark Study.

The Study - a joint collaboration between the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute and Esri Australia - found 76 per cent of councils use GIS technology when planning for an emergency; 75 per cent use it to guide their response; and 68 per cent rely on it to aid recovery.

For further information about the Study or to download a copy, visit

Topics:  floods 2013

Detective says murder most complex he's investigated

VICTIM: Gary John Ryan was murdered on August 23.

Five people now charged over gruesome killing

Drop-in centre could help troubled youth

ENOUGH: Trevor and Kerry Wone would like to see the community working together to overcome the problem youth violence on the streets of Bundaberg.

"We want to get these kids off the streets”.

End of an era for Eidsvold Station

MOVING ON: Sally and Anthony Coates saying goodbye to Eidsvold Station, the property they've lived at for decades.

Anthony and Sally Coates set to leave Eidsvold Station.

Local Partners

Drop-in centre could help troubled youth

A COUPLE desperate to solve the problem of youth violence are starting up a not-for-profit organisation to push for a drop-in centre in the Bundaberg CBD.

Foot stomping, eclectic gig coming to Bucca

GIG: 8 Ball Aitken will play at Bucca Hotel this weekend.

Blues artist plays at Bucca Hotel

WATCH: NASA space station is live, see the view from above

In this picture taken from NASA's International Space Station from April 2015, the SpaceX Dragon is captured with the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm before its installation to the Harmony module.

See the world from a new perspective as space station passes Rocky

Queensland's oldest pipe band needs your support

ALL THINGS CELTIC: The Bundaberg Caledonian Pipe Band is coming to the Moncrieff.

"Keep Bundaberg's Scottish band entertaining for many more years”

The Bachelorette fans rally around devastated Matty J

The Bachelorette runner-up Matty Johnson.

CALLS for reality dating show's runner-up to be the next Bachelor.

RECAP: The Bachelorette S2E12 - the finale

Georgia Love pictured in a scene from The Bachelorette finale.

GEORGIA chooses Lee and leaves Matty J heartbroken.

The Bachelorette finale: Georgia declares her love for Lee

Georgia Love with The Bachelorette winner Lee Elliott.

MATTY J left heartbroken in emotional grand final.

Buy your own brothel: Scarlet Harem for sale

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: The Coast's first brothel, Scarlet Harem at Kunda Park, is up for sale.

Coast brothel madam sells up

Tom Cruise credits success to Scientology

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise credits his success to Scientology

Hacksaw Ridge leads AACTA Awards nominations

Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

MEL Gibson's wartime drama opens in cinemas next week.

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Drop in rental vacancies for Bundaberg

ALL OVER: The decline was across the state.

Encouraging signs for market

6 houses in Gympie under $200,000

$170, 000, 9 Norman St, Gympie

These Gympie houses are perfect for investors or first home-buyers

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance