THE devastating extent of the Bundaberg region's Christmas floods is now available at people's fingertips, following the launch of an interactive mapping service on the Queensland Reconstruction Authority's website.
With just a click of a button, users can highlight on an aerial photograph where the water rose in Bundaberg.
It is believed to be the first time such a service has been publicly available, and is also expected to be an important resource for future natural disasters.
At the launch of the maps yesterday, Premier Anna Bligh said the website would also allow people to provide feedback on the maps, as well as zoom into their own address.
“No more guess work. Real photographs, real flood lines,” she said.
She said the maps would allow people to type in an address to find out where it was in relation to the actual flood line.
“This is a first. In past flood events, such as Brisbane's 1974 floods and other major flood events in the state, mapping of flood lines has been done by measuring the water gauge heights and then relying on available land contours to make an educated guess on where the water went,” Ms Bligh said.
“To prepare for future events, we need to do better than educated guesses and this website can help make Queenslanders more prepared than ever before.”
Bundaberg's digitally enhanced map shows a large blue stain across the CBD and around the city's east and north sides.
Website users can also take off the blue flood lines and view only the aerial photo which was taken during the flooding.
The online map shows popular sports ground Kendalls Flat and the Daph Geddes Park completely inundated.
The flood maps for the Gayndah and Mundubbera areas are yet to be completed, but are expected to be finished soon.
The aerial imaging has been under way throughout Queensland since December.
The State Government worked with the Australian Defence Force and private aerial imagers to take the photos of the flood- and cyclone-affected communities.
Reconstruction Authority chairman Major-General Mick Slater said the images would be provided to councils for urban planning and public display.
“It is also important that the authority is very upfront about the fact that the mapping has been done by real people, so human error is always possible,” he said.
“Throughout our interactive map feature, there are community feedback buttons. If you think we've got the flood line wrong in your area, please let us know via the feedback option.
“The authority will then revisit the actual aerial photograph of the area to verify the feedback.”
Maj-Gen Slater said the interactive maps would also be used to show reconstruction projects.
“Over time, as we gather verified data from local and state agencies on the reconstruction effort, we will make this publicly available on our website,” he said.
To view the map, go to the authority's recently launched website at www.qldreconstruction.org. au