Monday, February 6, 2017

Topography-based Analysis of Hurricane Katrina

This report from the United States Geological Survey demonstrates the use in mapping with high-resolution elevation data (lidar), and how it can be helpful in mapping the affect of hurricanes. In this section of the report, we see a more specified look at elevation data in the city of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. This data provided an estimate of the flood levels in and around the city based on previous data of elevation levels from 2002. This data helped aid first responders to the hurricane, and provided researchers with the tools to study and report on its impact.

As the second map above shows, when using lidar, we are able to see the areas of New Orleans that were most affected by Hurricane Katrina and the resulting flooding.  The technology first gathers the data that shows the elevation of New Orleans above sea level, as shown in the first map. It was then assumed that level of Lake Pontchartrain and the level of flooding water were the same, by using a gauge from the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. After concluding that these levels were the same, the cartographers were able to create a map that showed the levels of flooding based on the elevation of the land, and the level of the water above that elevation. 

In conclusion, the use of lidar mapping technology allowed for the topographic mapping of flooded areas of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. In addition to helping first responders in their attempts to rid the city of water, this map also helps researchers find the points most impacted by the storm. This map also allows for future safety when understanding floods, and how to remove the water safely from urban areas. Through the use of high-resolution elevation mapping, researchers and scientists are able to protect areas from flooding based on previous patterns of storms and their impact. 

Gesch, D. (n.d.). Science and the Storms: the USGS Response to the Hurricanes of 2005 (pp. 53-56, Rep.). 
Topography-based Analysis of Hurricane Katrina Inundation of New Orleans


  1. Very interesting article. Since New Orleans is so prone to flooding, this should definitely be able to reduce the amount of flooding in future incidents. This data could end up saving thousands of dollars worth of damages. The first image is difficult to comprehend, but the second image is easy to follow with the color coding.

  2. I like how this article is written, with an understandable evolution of the text. It might be nice to add in some more detail on how this information could aid this and other areas in the future.