News

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 esriaustralia.com.au/benchmark-study.

Topics:  floods 2013




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Five key election issues for sugar region economies

Healthy looking sugarcane at Goodwood Rd, Goodwood. Photo Brittany Cook / Isis Town & Country

Canegrowers are urging politicla parties to commit to future growth.

Trailer Tests with Tim and Tabitha

Rider Tim and trusty pony Tabitha were first to test new trailer.

Help us keep workplaces fair

Financial Planning - Couple getting consulted

Fair Work ombudsman Natalie James appealed to the community for help

Latest deals and offers

Health Concerns

HEALTH CONCERNS: Edenbrook Estate residents are concerned about the proposed development of a Windrow Composting Facility at Kay McDuff Drive Norville. Craig Brooks, Jodie Brooks, Keith Mansfield, Ron Geyer, Na Geyer, Clinton Church, Robert Astill, June Lavander, Leah Whaleboat, Joe Galea, Andrea Astill, Maureen Cox and Larry Cox. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail

HEALTH CONCERNS: Edenbrook Estate residents are concerned about the proposed...

Dos and don'ts of dog attacks

A video showing what to do and what not to do when confronted by an angry or...

Barnaby Joyce talks Johnny Depp's dogs in Tweed

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce talks about Johnny Depp's dogs Pistol and Boo...

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked