Friday, September 25, 2015

Topography-based Analysis of Hurricane Katrina Inundation of New Orleans

During the relief efforts of Katrina in 2005, response teams in low lying New Orleans relied on geospatial data to predict the most inundated parts of the city. Lidar, which was the geospatial technology used to attain the inundation data, is a high-resolution, high-accuracy elevation data, which proved valuable for the development of topographic-based products crucial in the immediate days following the storm. Because of its high level of spatial detail and vertical accuracy of elevation measurements, USGS scientists were able to give estimates on flood water volume, areas of extreme flooding, etc.

Because of its high detail and accuracy, lidar is an excellent mapping technology for use in low-relief hurricane-prone coastal areas. Possibly lidar could be applicable for use in other disaster relief efforts that involve a geospatial aspect. 

Gesch, D. (2005). Topography-based analysis of Hurricane Katrina inundation of New Orleans. Science and the storms: The USGS Response to the Hurricanes of.


  1. Were the flood water volume and areas of extreme flooding given? The chart only shows the relative water depth in New Orleans and not what information such as flood water volume and areas of extreme flooding were found from this information.

  2. The only other Chart shown is the one Thomas posted in his post below. Same article.

  3. Do you think this study and data could be applied to further preparation for new hurricanes in New Orleans?
    For example, strengthening the levees in the areas where the flooding was worst, or even raising the height of the city like the government did in Galveston ,TX?

  4. What can charts like this be useful for in the "post disaster" phase?

  5. It would be helpful to know in more detail how GIS was used to calculate geospacial data.