UrbanARK and Coastal Flooding

Globally, floods are a major hazard, with wide-ranging social, economic and environmental impacts. This threat is growing annually, especially in coastal areas due to accelerating mean sea-level rises, as well as increasing population growth coupled with new construction in flood-vulnerable areas. Today, over 600 million people live in critical coastal zones, and almost 2/3rd of the world’s cities with more than 5 million inhabitants fall within such zones.

Accurately predicting local flooding in urban areas is highly complex, in part because of the multitude of underground spaces that are often not properly accounted for. Furthermore, underground spaces present a priority risk during flood events with respect to timely evacuation. Incomplete knowledge poses significant logistical challenges in generating highly accurate maps of these priority risk areas.

UrbanARK explores the use of high-resolution airborne and mobile ground-based LiDAR scanning to identify and survey high-risk underground spaces.  The LiDAR data is then used to refine flood prediction models and to develop immersive Virtual Reality applications as a communication tool to support communities and emergency planners.