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EXC I M AP

EXC
EXCIMAP

Atlas of Flood Maps

Atlas of Flood Maps


Examples from 19 European countries, USA and Japan

Examples from 19 European countries, USA and Japan


Contents

1 Introduction 5

2 Flood mapping 7

3 Cartographic aspects of flood risk mapping 9


3.1 Layout issues and GIS approaches 9
3.1.1 Basic and explanatory information 9
3.1.2 Meta-data 9
3.1.3 Background mapping or imagery 9
3.1.4 Location and navigation 10
3.1.5 Colour palettes and symbols 10
3.1.6 Numerical flood data 11
3.1.7 Additional considerations 11
3.2 Map Content 12
3.2.1 Flood extent 12
3.2.2 Flood probability, depth, progress 12
3.2.3 Potential damage and casualties 13
3.2.4 Flood risk 13
3.2.5 Flood Hazard 13
3.2.6 Evacuation maps 13
3.3 Conclusions 13

4 Examples of flood risk maps 15


4.1 Austria 15
4.2 Belgium 25
4.2.1 Flanders 25
4.2.2 Wallonia 29
4.3 Croatia 33
4.4 Denmark 37
4.5 Great Britain 39
4.5.1 England & Wales 39
4.5.2 Scotland 53
4.6 Finland 55
4.7 France 59
4.8 Germany 67
4.8.1 Baden-Württemberg 67
4.8.2 Bayern (Bavaria) 70
4.8.3 Nieder-Sachsen / Bremen 72
4.8.4 Nordrhein-Westfalen 73
4.8.5 Rheinland-Pfalz 77
4.8.6 Saarland 80
4.8.7 Sachsen 80
4.8.8 Sachsen-Anhalt 83
4.9 Hungary 85
4.10 Ireland 89
4.11 Italy 93
4.12 Latvia 97
4.13 Luxembourg 99
4.14 Netherlands 101
4.15 Norway 109
4.16 Poland 113

3 Atlas of Flood Maps


4.17 Spain 119
4.18 Sweden 131
4.19 Switzerland 135

5 Transboundary flood hazard mapping 147


5.1 European Flood Risk Mapping 147
5.2 Comrisk and Safecoast 149
5.3 ELLA 150
5.4 FLAPP 154
5.5 IKRS 155
5.6 SAFER 159
5.7 TIMIS 159

6 Insurance maps 163


6.1 CatNet 163
6.2 Austria 166
6.3 Czech Republic 169
6.4 France 172
6.5 Germany 174
6.6 Italy 175
6.7 USA 176

7 Evacuation maps 179


7.1 Germany – Hamburg 179
7.2 Japan 180
7.3 Netherlands 183
7.4 USA 185
7.4.1 Mississippi 185
7.4.2 Florida 186
7.4.3 Louisiana – New Orleans 187
7.4.4 California – Sacramento 189

8 Final Remarks 195

Atlas of Flood Maps 4


Prepared for:

EXC I M AP
EXC
EXCIMAP

Atlas of Flood Maps


Examples from 19 European countries, USA and Japan

November 2007
Contents

1 Introduction 5

2 Flood mapping 7

3 Cartographic aspects of flood risk mapping 9


3.1 Layout issues and GIS approaches 9
3.1.1 Basic and explanatory information 9
3.1.2 Meta-data 9
3.1.3 Background mapping or imagery 9
3.1.4 Location and navigation 10
3.1.5 Colour palettes and symbols 10
3.1.6 Numerical flood data 11
3.1.7 Additional considerations 11
3.2 Map Content 12
3.2.1 Flood extent 12
3.2.2 Flood probability, depth, progress 12
3.2.3 Potential damage and casualties 13
3.2.4 Flood risk 13
3.2.5 Flood Hazard 13
3.2.6 Evacuation maps 13
3.3 Conclusions 13

4 Examples of flood risk maps 15


4.1 Austria 15
4.2 Belgium 25
4.2.1 Flanders 25
4.2.2 Wallonia 29
4.3 Croatia 33
4.4 Denmark 37
4.5 Great Britain 39
4.5.1 England & Wales 39
4.5.2 Scotland 53
4.6 Finland 55
4.7 France 59
4.8 Germany 67
4.8.1 Baden-Württemberg 67
4.8.2 Bayern (Bavaria) 70
4.8.3 Nieder-Sachsen / Bremen 72
4.8.4 Nordrhein-Westfalen 73
4.8.5 Rheinland-Pfalz 77
4.8.6 Saarland 80
4.8.7 Sachsen 80
4.8.8 Sachsen-Anhalt 83
4.9 Hungary 85
4.10 Ireland 89
4.11 Italy 93
4.12 Latvia 97
4.13 Luxembourg 99
4.14 Netherlands 101
4.15 Norway 109
4.16 Poland 113

3 Atlas of Flood Maps


4.17 Spain 119
4.18 Sweden 131
4.19 Switzerland 135

5 Transboundary flood hazard mapping 147


5.1 European Flood Risk Mapping 147
5.2 Comrisk and Safecoast 149
5.3 ELLA 150
5.4 FLAPP 154
5.5 IKRS 155
5.6 SAFER 159
5.7 TIMIS 159

6 Insurance maps 163


6.1 CatNet 163
6.2 Austria 166
6.3 Czech Republic 169
6.4 France 172
6.5 Germany 174
6.6 Italy 175
6.7 USA 176

7 Evacuation maps 179


7.1 Germany – Hamburg 179
7.2 Japan 180
7.3 Netherlands 183
7.4 USA 185
7.4.1 Mississippi 185
7.4.2 Florida 186
7.4.3 Louisiana – New Orleans 187
7.4.4 California – Sacramento 189

8 Final Remarks 195

Atlas of Flood Maps 4


1 Introduction

Aware of the growing need for flood mapping development in the future in Europe, early 2006 the European
Water Directors decided to establish a European exchange circle on flood mapping (EXCIMAP).

Today EXCIMAP is an informal circle consisting of nearly 40 representatives from 24 European countries or
organizations. It has been set up for encouraging and facilitating exchanges between European experts in view of
developing flood mapping. The main objective of EXCIMAP is to produce a Handbook presenting the good
practices (available in Europe) to mobilize when executing flood mapping.

In the mean time, the European Union has adopted a European Directive on the Assessment and Management of
Flood Risks. This Directive sets out the requirement for the Member States to develop three kinds of products:
• a preliminary flood risk assessment: the aim of this step is to evaluate the level of flood risk in all regions and to
select those regions on which to undertake flood mapping and flood risk management plans (see below)
• flood mapping, with a distinction between flood hazard maps and flood risk maps:
− the flood hazard maps should cover the geographical areas which could be flooded according to different
scenarios. These maps are also indicated by flood extension maps;
− the flood risk maps shall show the potential adverse consequences associated with floods under those
scenarios.
• flood risk management plans: on the basis of the previous maps, the flood risk management plans shall indicate
the objectives of the flood risk management in the concerned areas, and the measures that aim to achieve
these objectives. Examples are evacuation maps.

The focus in this Atlas is on river flooding, but some examples of coastal flooding are also included.

According to this directive Member states shall produce flood mapping according to some minimum
recommendations. To be consistent with this proposed European document, EXCIMAP has decided to focus its
work on the minimum requirements of the Directive concerning flood mapping.

As part of the work to be done for this Handbook an inventory was made of examples of maps and mapping
programmes in the participating countries. The result of this inventory is this “Atlas of Flood Maps”. It contains
examples from 19 European countries, not counting the subdivisions that are made in some instances (Belgium,
Great Britain and Germany) and from the USA and Japan. In addition special chapters are dedicated to
transboundary flood mapping, flood maps for insurance purpose and evacuation maps.
In each chapter the authors of this Atlas have made remarks on content and layout of the maps, based on general
cartographic principles.

The Atlas is compiled by the Netherlands Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management. The
material is submitted by the EXCIMAP members. WL|Delft Hydraulics assisted to collect and organize the material
and has made both the descriptions and the analysis of the maps. After the publication of a draft edition, the
material was reviewed by representatives of the various countries.

We hope that this valuable collection of examples will stimulate flood mapping efforts in countries that have to
start with it, and discussion to improve these practices in countries that have experiences with it already.

The editors:
Jos van Alphen and Ron Passchier

5 Atlas of Flood Maps


2 Flood mapping
For the purpose of consistency, this Atlas is based on the same definitions as the EXCIMAP Handbook on Good
Practices on Flood Mapping:

• Flood: is a temporary covering by water of land normally not covered by water. This shall include floods from
rivers, mountain torrents, Mediterranean ephemeral water courses, and floods from the sea in coastal areas,
and may exclude floods from sewerage systems
• Flood risk: is the combination of the probability of a flood event and of the potential adverse consequences to
human health, the environment and economic activity associated with a flood event
• Flood plain maps indicate the geographical areas which could be covered by a flood (from all sources except
sewerage systems – see above definition of flood) according to one or several probabilities: floods with a very
low probability or extreme events scenarios; floods with a medium probability (likely return period >=100y);
floods with a high probability, where appropriate
• Flood hazard maps shows areas which could be flooded according to three probabilities (low, medium, high)
complemented with: type of flood, the flood extent; water depths or water level where appropriate; where
appropriate, flow velocity or the relevant water flow direction
• Flood risk maps indicate potential adverse consequences associated with floods under several probabilities,
expressed in terms of: the indicative number of inhabitants potentially affected; type of economic activity of the
area potentially affected; installation which might cause accidental pollution in case of flooding […] potentially
affected ; other information which the Member State considers useful
• Damage is the negative effect of an event or process
• Residual risk is the portion of the risk remaining after the flood risk management actions have been
implemented and taken into consideration

7 Atlas of Flood Maps


3 Cartographic aspects of flood risk mapping
This Chapter aims to describe the basic content and cartographic good practices of flood risk mapping. It is meant
to form the background information for the description of the compilation of various examples of flood maps from
countries that are part of EXCIMAP. The text in the first paragraph on map layout and the use of GIS is identical to
the text on cartographic aspects in the ‘Handbook of Good Practice for Flood Mapping in Europe’ produced as
part of EXCIMAP. In the second paragraph, map content is discussed.

3.1 Layout issues and GIS approaches


Cartographic aspects are important issues in flood mapping. They need to be adequate to the intended user to
help ensure that the content of the maps is correctly understood and that the maps might convey the relevant
information to their users, thus achieving the objectives for which they have been developed. This Section
discusses some of the key issues related to the presentation of flood maps.

3.1.1 Basic and explanatory information


Information that is important for use and that explain the content of the map includes:
• Title: brief description of the map, including its content and / or purpose (for flood maps particularly important
are the considered probabilities or recurrence intervals
• Responsible authority (organisation responsible for the development and publishing of the maps, with contact
details)
• Date of preparation / publication
• Legend (textual description of symbols, colours, line features, etc.)
• Purpose of development and intended use
• Method of development
• Limitations of map and / or assessment of uncertainty (if available)
• Disclaimer (to enforce explanatory information and limitations, and provide legal protection to the responsible
authority against adverse consequences of misuse)
• North and scale: preferably using scale bar as this allows for changes in page size

The scope and detail of the explanatory information should be appropriate to the intended audience.
• Maps intended for public use should be simple and self-explanatory and include a clear legend, such that as
little supporting or explanatory information as possible is required for correct interpretation.
• Maps intended for organisational users (governments, local authorities, etc.) will generally be used by
professionals to inform decision makers that may potentially have significant impacts, and will often contain
more information than public maps. They are therefore likely to require more detailed explanatory information
to help the user to fully understand the development and limitations of the maps, particularly in relation to
methods of development, limitations and uncertainty.

3.1.2 Meta-data
Appropriate meta-data should be provided where maps are issued / downloadable in GIS format. Such data
should include standard meta-data (dates, responsible organisation, etc.) as well as information necessary for use
of the GIS data, including the map projection and any datum levels used. Consideration should also be given to
any relevant meta-data protocols or requirements.

3.1.3 Background mapping or imagery


Background mapping (i.e., maps showing topography, towns / buildings, roads, rivers and waterbodies, land use,
etc.) or imagery (often ortho-rectified aerial photographs) are almost universally provided to a flood map to
provide geographical reference for the flood information.
Clear, and appropriately scaled, background mapping facilitates location directly from the principal map (although
it might be noted that at very detailed scales this can be difficult to achieve). Care should be taken to ensure that
background mapping colours will not be readily confusable with those used in the flood mapping (or vice versa),
and background mapping is sometimes provided in black-and-white or grey-scale to improve clarity of the
overlying flood map information.

9 Atlas of Flood Maps


Imagery may be more readily interpreted than mapping as a background layer, although users may find it more
difficult to geographically locate the relevant area, particularly if they are not closely familiar with the specific area.
Imagery can also be expensive to procure if not already available, although Google Earth has recently become a
powerful tool to provide affordable imagery (see Polish examples, Figure 4.88 and Figure 4.89).

3.1.4 Location and navigation


A location plan is often provided alongside the principal flood map to help users identify the geographical location
that the flood map represents. This plan, which may be an appropriately scaled map or schematic plan (with
appropriate key locations, such as towns, roads, rivers, etc.), shows the coverage and the location of the map
within a wider geographical area (e.g., the nation, region or river basin).
Navigation tools will be required for internet-based maps to enable users find an area of interest. Tools often
include zooming (in and out) and panning and can include relocation from a location plan (as described above) or
a return to default view (e.g., regional or national scale view).

An indication of orientation (direction of North bearing) and map scale are also required for correct interpretation.
Scale information may be provided by:
• A written scale (e.g., 1:10 000) in the title box or legend
• A scale bar provided on the map; this allows easy change in paper size
• Grid squares provided on the map (with the grid square size defined in legend)

3.1.5 Colour palettes and symbols


Simple flood maps may show only a single flood parameter (such as the flood extent for one flood frequency or
return period) using a single coloured layer over a background map. The use of different colours (or shades of a
single colour) may be used to present multiple parameters (such as flood extents for multiple flood frequencies,
flood depths within a given flood extent, or classes of flood hazard or risk) in a clear and comprehensible format
on a single map.
The choice of colour coding may be guided by a number of factors:
• Social conditioning: People are conditioned to interpret information based on colour, e.g., blue may be taken to
represent flood extents, and red, orange and green are taken to represent danger, caution and safety
respectively. Care should be taken with respect to possible interpretations of colour, and particularly
misunderstandings.
• Graduations of colour: Graduations of colour (or within similar colours, such as red, orange and yellow or
purple, blue and green) may be used to represent different degrees of a single parameter (e.g., deeper shades
to represent more severe flooding or higher risk). The graduation may be discrete or continuous, whereby:
− Discrete graduation is used to represent a set number of ranges or classes of degree (e.g., flood extents for a
small number of flood event frequencies, or specified ranges of flood depth). The choice of range or class of
degree may be based on equal divisions, or perhaps more appropriately, on classifications related to
consequence (e.g., depth categories related to safety and the ability of people to evacuate, or to depth-
damage data for economic damage calculation)
− Continuous graduation is used to represent a continuum of degree. This provides more detail but may not
be as easy to interpret as discretely graduated maps. An example of discrete and continuous graduation is
shown in the next two figures.

Atlas of Flood Maps 10


Black and White Reproduction: The possible reproduction of a colour map in black-and-white might be
considered in choosing a colour scheme, noting that different colours may appear as the same shade of grey
once copied. An example of a colour palette that does not translate well into grey scales (both the blue and red
translate into dark grey, but the blue is low and red is high) as can be seen in the next two figures.

• Accessibility: The accessibility of maps for the partially-sighted or colour-blind should be considered in choosing
colour-schemes, particularly within the context of any national, regional or organisational regulations, policies
or guidelines.
• Clarity: Strong colours may be used to provide clarity over a coloured background map, although it might be
noted that an excessive number of strong colours can make a map difficult to interpret

Hatching may be used as an alternative to different shades or colours in representing different parameters or, as is
more often the case, parameter variants. Examples might include hatching of flood extent areas that are defended
by protection measures or form flood storage areas / washlands, to differentiate these types of area from those
that are undefended or naturally flooded respectively.
The use of different line types that bound a polygon or flood extent provides another opportunity for
differentiation. This approach is generally more suitable to visualise variants of a parameter or meta-data
associated with the primary mapped parameters, such as differentiation between observed historic and predictive
flood extents, or an indication of uncertainty associated with a flood extent.
Line types variations that might be used include ranges of line:
• Thickness
• Colour
• Continuity (e.g., solid, chain, dashed, dotted)
• Definition (e.g., clearly defined line of set thickness as opposed to fuzzy boundary)

3.1.6 Numerical flood data


Flood maps represent information graphically. This visualisation can be supplemented with numerical data, such as
values of water level or flow, either directly as text on the map or in a table on the legend. Such data can also be
provided as attributes or tables associated with the flood maps where the maps are issued or downloadable in
digital GIS format.

3.1.7 Additional considerations


In preparing flood maps, other considerations may be relevant to the presentation.
The location, type, standard and condition of flood defence assets, and other flood-related information such as
evacuation routes, shelter areas, flow direction, properties, etc., can also be shown on flood maps. The scope of
the information provided might be more or less detailed dependent on the intended purpose and audience (i.e.,
public or organisational). This information may be associated with the flood maps, and possibly with particular
flood cells, where the maps are provided in digital GIS format.
The presentation of flood maps in trans-national or trans-regional river basins should, as far as reasonably possible
within the requirements and constraints prevalent in each jurisdiction, be co-ordinated and consistent in
presentation.
Consistency should also exist between different types of flood maps for a given area. For example, the outer
extents of flood risk zones should be spatially consistent with flood extent maps for a given flood event frequency,

11 Atlas of Flood Maps


and a given colour should preferably not be used to represent more than one parameter within a related set of
maps.
Most EU countries now have a multi-cultural, and hence multi-lingual, society. Minority language versions of maps
may therefore be deemed appropriate where significant minorities exist.

3.2 Map Content

3.2.1 Flood extent


The extent of potential flooding has to be presented as surface covering the topography for a specified flood level
/frequency. For reference roads, railways, houses, property boundaries and the permanent waterbodies from
which the floods may originate may be included. Recently Google Earth has become a powerful tool to use as
background layer for this kind of information. A drawback of the use of Google Earth is the fact that the
interactive site depends on third-party software which, although it is rather new on the internet, might easily be
discontinued and there is always the risk that the server producing the images goes off-line for whatever reason.
Other problems may occur when the layout c.q. technical aspects of Google Earth are changed.

Flood extent should be presented for a specified frequency, e.g. 1/10, 1/100 or 1/1000. In addition the protecting
effect of defence works may be shown.

3.2.2 Flood probability, depth, progress


A very useful, but more advanced tool, for flood inundation mapping is the use of 2-D hydrodynamic models for
the presentation of the actual process of inundation in a simulation movie. Evidently it is not possible to capture
this type of information on a (hard-copy) map, although successive stages of the inundation process can be
shown. Nevertheless this type of information is extremely valuable, especially for the assessment of most reliable
escape c.q. evacuation routes. It is very important for the presentation of this information to describe precisely the
specifications that form the boundary conditions of the simulation. There are an infinite number of possibilities, in
terms of location of a dyke breach, initial size and development of the breach, form of the flood hydrograph that
produces the flood (in case of river floods), local roughness conditions in the flooded area, etc.

When many computations from different locations are available (scenario simulations), the resulting information
can be combined into probability of flooding of a gridcell and maximum inundation depth per gridcell. However,
since this requires many computations, these maps are relatively scarce. These probability maps can also be
produced as flood likelihood maps for reassurance purposes.
Potential (maximum) inundation depth maps exist on national, regional and local scales (1:2.500.000 – 1:10.000).
In the legend it is possible to present the important relationship between inundation depth and “what to do”,
depending on inundation depths of e.g.: 50 cm, 1 m, 2 m, 5 m and > 5m, (see Japan). Other related information
may be evacuation routes, shelter areas.

3.2.3 Potential damage and casualties


Maps about flood damage may use indicators of potential damage like:
• land use (rural, urban, infrastructure, water, etc.)
• real estate value /ha (shown per dike-ring, or municipality)
• population density /ha (shown per dike-ring or municipality);

When more sophisticated models and information is available potential damage can be computed per gridcell as a
result of different flooding scenarios and damage functions that relate water depth to damage to structures and
land use as well as to numbers of casualties. Since this is very sensitive information the data, models and
assumptions have to be explained in detail in accompanying reports.

Relevant information related to this theme has to do with the objects/services that may increase flood damage
substantially: storage of chemicals, vital networks and services (highways, railways, airport, lifeline services like
electricity, sewerage and drinking water, hospitals, etc). This information is expressed as line or point symbols, and
may be combined with inundation-class maps.

Atlas of Flood Maps 12


3.2.4 Flood risk
Risk is often defined as probability x adverse effects. Consequently, a flood risk map may express flood risk as
expected annual flood damage or casualties per gridcell, given the level of protection. When different flood
scenarios are available, the resulting flood level frequency curve per gridcell, population density and casualty
function may be combined into personal risk of decease per gridcell. However, the availability of these types of
maps is very limited, and not public. They are also difficult to interpret and it might lead to confusing information
when presented e.g. on the Internet.

3.2.5 Flood Hazard


Flood hazard maps present information on the typical dangerous aspects of floods that are important for e.g.
evacuation and rescue operations: current velocity, sometimes in combination with inundation depth and/or debris
content. This type of information may be relevant for very specific locations, e.g. near breaches in the
embankment or narrow passages in river valleys, where current velocities become relevant. Therefore this
information is presented on detailed maps (1:2.500).

Current velocity may be presented as (magnitude) classes or vector (magnitude and direction). However, it should
be kept in mind that current velocity depends very much on local topography and may be of limited accuracy.
Vector maps may be difficult to read when flow direction and vector locations coincide.

3.2.6 Evacuation maps


Evacuation maps present public information on “what to do”. USA has a large tradition with evacuation routes in
coastal areas related to hurricane and storm surge threats, but other countries start to produce these types of maps
as well. Evacuation maps relate the magnitude of the threat (hurricane category) to areas (zipcodes!) that are
evacuated or should consider it. In addition recommended evacuation routes may be shown, with detailed road
maps about traffic contra flow direction on junctions.
Complementary information may be added about things to carry with you to survive the trip (food, water,
batteries, emergency telephone numbers, etc.).

In general for river flooding there are too many options for evacuation maps, as the best evacuation route
depends on the flood characteristics e.g. It is therefore suggested that such information is used as background
data for decision makers instead of published information to the general public for taking decisions on evacuation
routes themselves.

3.3 Conclusions
Establishing guidelines to the cartographic aspects of flood risk maps should be given priority, not only to avoid
problems of the public not understanding flood risk maps, but also to assure for instance that specialists dealing
with floods actually use the same basis for information, in particular where river systems are concerned that cross
national boundaries. Maps and GIS products should be tested on the public to see if they are as effective as
scientists like to believe. However, it is unlikely that flood maps in the EU countries will become completely
comparable as not only the underlying methodology is different, but also the data collection and method of
measurement are different. It is possible, though, to arrive at a more generalized layout of the maps. This is
particularly interesting now that most countries are in the process of producing interactive Internet sites where any
user can access the map layers.

13 Atlas of Flood Maps


5 Transboundary flood hazard mapping
Especially the EU-funded projects are excellent examples of transboundary flood-related projects. In Figure 5.1 an
overview is given of the flood-related EU-funded projects that were either on-going or had been recently finalized
by the time of the compilation of this Atlas. In this chapter a number of these projects will be discussed as far as
they contribute to transboundary flood mapping, but no attempt has been made to give a complete overview of
all transboundary flood mapping activities in the EU.

Figure 5.1 Overview of EU-funded transboundary flood-related projects29

Another example of a transboundary approach to flood mapping is the CatNET, which aims at providing flood
information for insurance purpose. For this reason it is further discussed, with examples, in Chapter 6.1.

5.1 European Flood Risk Mapping

European flood risk mapping is one of the components of the work carried out in the WDNH (weather-driven
natural hazards ) action by the JRC (Joint Research Centre) of the EU. Three components of flood risk have been
addressed, i.e. flood hazard, flood vulnerability and flood exposure. The assessment is based on a database of map
layers with information on GDP, population density, land use, flood hazard, etc. The flood hazard is derived using a
1 km digital elevation model and the 1 km grid European flow network developed by JRC. The outcomes from this
work are:
• Flood risk assessment for the EU + Romania and Bulgaria;
• Flood risk layer: Standardised index map for flood risk (spatial resolution 1 km);
• Flood risk layer: Risk assessment for NUTS3 areas.

NUTS areas (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) are administrative divisions for all European member
countries that were introduced in 1998 and for which four different levels of detail exist. A detailed description of

29 http://www.iu-info.de/fileadmin/user_upload/news_Inhalte/Flapp_report.pdf

147 Atlas of Flood Maps


the development of the maps by JRC is shown in given on the website of JRC30. As an example, the flood hazard
map is reproduced in Figure 5.2. This map is based on an algorithm calculating the elevation difference of a
location with the nearest river, along the hydrological flow path. The potential flood risk is determined by the
difference in elevation and the estimated extreme water level of the nearby river. Further details on the
methodology is given in the report on the website referred to earlier. In the future a higher resolution DEM will be
used together with model simulations to obtain more reliable results.

In Figure 5.3 the result is shown of a combination of a land use map (Corine 2000) and the European flood hazard
map of Figure 5.2. Evidently the trend of increasing urbanisation in many parts of Europe has let to a major
increase in flood hazard in those highly populated areas.

Figure 5.2 Flood hazard map of Europe (WDNH – JRC)

30 http://ies.jrc.cec.eu.int/fileadmin/Documentation/Reports/Land_Management/EUR_2006-2007/EUR_22116_EN.pdf

Atlas of Flood Maps 148


Figure 5.3 Overlay of the Corine land cover map and European flood hazard map

5.2 Comrisk and Safecoast

An example of cooperation between neighbouring countries on coastal flooding can be found in the related
Comrisk and Safecoast projects, both under the auspices of the EU.
Comrisk (Common strategies to reduce the risk of storm floods in coastal lowlands) was started in 2002 and has
already been finalized31. It was carried out by eight coastal risk management authorities from Belgium, Denmark,
The Netherlands and Germany. Various studies were carried out as part of the project and the project was finalized
with an international conference in April 2005.
The Safecoast project32 forms the follow-up action to Comrisk and started in July 2005.
The interesting aspects of these projects in view of this Atlas is the opportunity to bring more unity in the technical
background for the production of flood maps, as well as the layout of the maps themselves. The projects deal with
about 40,000 km2 of floodprone coastal area and focuses strongly on the safety of the North Sea coast taking into
account the expected increase of flooding danger due to climate change, with a planning horizon to the year
2050. Figure 5.4 shows the floodprone area along the North Sea, covered by the Safecoast project.
Also in this project, the most important aim in view of transboundary issues in flood mapping is the comparison of
different flood risk assessment methods and the goal to arrive at a common ground for the planning of the coastal
defence.

31 http://comrisk.hosted-by-kfki.baw.de/

32 http://www.safecoast.org/

149 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 5.4 Study area of the SAFECOAST project

A similar EU-funded project is FRAME (Flood Risk Management in Estuaries: Sustainable New Land Use in Flood
Control Areas), which does have some mapping issues as well (such as a ‘Best Practice Manual’), but it is
considered outside the scope of this Atlas. Information on the FRAME project can be found on the internet33. It is
part of a number of projects that deal with the North Sea Programme and details on related projects are found on
the internet page of this Programme34.

5.3 ELLA

The ELLA (Elbe-Labe Preventive flood management measures by transnational spatial planning) project is another
example of an EU-financed flood-related project which deals with transboundary issues35. One of the aims is the
preparation of flood maps with a number of examples on transboundary rivers, especially the Rhine and the Elbe
rivers. The project is carried out with partners from Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Hungary. The
results of the transboundary flood mapping are available on a special internet site36, with access to maps for the
Rhein, Weser and Elbe (Labe) river basins, the latter being in fact the result of the ELLA project. By clicking on the
Rhine river, a next interactive internet site is opened37, which gives access to series of flood maps for this river
(Figure 5.5). This is in fact part of the Flood Information System, which has been set up within the framework of
the ESA project GSE RISKEOS38. Additional technological developments are being done within the project EC IP
PREVIEW39. An important objective is the standardized delineation of flood hazard and flood risk maps. To the
extent of their availability, the map service shows the outline and/or inundation depths of a 100 year flood and an
extreme flood. Also shown are the damage potentials of at least one of these events. Additional information

33 http://www.frameproject.org/

34 http://www.interregnorthsea.org/default.asp

35 http://www.ella-interreg.org/

36 http://www.floodmaps.de/FloodServer/

37 http://www.floodmaps.de/FloodServer/go?FrameLoaderActionSprache=en

38 www.risk-eos.com

39 www.previewrisk.com

Atlas of Flood Maps 150


Figure 5.5 Interactive site for flood maps of the Rhine river basin

includes the outlined areas of recent flood events, which were derived from satellite imagery. Also available are
historical flood maps. The service is completed by landuse data.

As an example, flood extension and damage potential maps are shown for the transboundary region along the
Dutch – German border in Figure 5.6 and Figure 5.7. The legend to these two maps is shown in Figure 5.8. The
two maps show the location where the Rhine river, after passing the Dutch border, splits into various branches. In
green the region is shown that would be flooded in an extreme event, with water flowing along a different
Northern route from the Rhine in Germany directly overland towards one of the Rhine branches (“IJssel”) in the
Netherlands.

Other combinations of flood map items and land use are possible, but the combination of land use map and
damage map is not easy to distinguish (too many items on the map and mixed colours not included in the legend),
although this would be the most interesting combination.

151 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 5.6 Flood extension map for Rhine river along Dutch – German border

Atlas of Flood Maps 152


Figure 5.7 Damage potential map for Rhine river along Dutch – German border

Figure 5.8 Legend to the flood extension and damage potential map

The flood mapping of the Elbe (Labe) river of the ELLA project is a good example of a transboundary effort for
Germany and the Czech Republic. However, this is less interesting as an example in this Atlas as the boundary
region between the two countries, being a mountainous area, does not exhibit any major flood threat. It does use
the same type of layout, though, for the two countries involved as was the case for the maps of the Rhine river.
This is evident from the map example shown in Figure 5.9, which shows the flood extent for an extreme flood and
a flood with a return period of 1/100 year, in combination with a land use map.

153 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 5.9 Combination of flood extension and land use map for the city of Dresden (ELLA project)

5.4 FLAPP

Another interesting EU-funded project is the 'Flood Awareness & Prevention Policy in border areas' (FLAPP). The
project started in 2005 and is now in its final stage. One aspect of the project is the production of a ‘good practice
book’, which in itself has various components. For the transboundary flood mapping issue, an important
component is the production of the cross-border flood maps for the cities of Görlitz and Zgorzelec on the Nyssa
river between Germany and Poland. Information on the project is provided on the internet site of FLAPP40.
The Nyssa river forms the border between the towns of Görlitz and Zgorzelec, which were separated in 1945
through a redrawing of the borders after the Second World War. The aim of the project was to create a common
hazard zone and flood information map on a scale of 1:5,000 in 3 languages (English/German/Polish). The map
contains the flood plains of different events (return periods of 1/20, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200 and 1/500 years) which
have been taken form the Saxon flood control plan for the Nyssa elaborated in 2004. Furthermore additional
information with regard to endangered infrastructure, municipal planning and calamity defence are displayed on
the map. In this map flood risk in a certain area is displayed via hazard zones (high, medium, low and residual
risk). These zones are determined through overlapping intensity and frequency of a flood event. The map can be
used to communicate flood risk to the public and to integrate information on flood risk into spatial planning of the
municipalities. An example of part of this map is shown in Figure 5.10, showing the flood extension for the various
return periods. It is not clear whether the ‘Hqextrem’ refers to the 1/500 year return period. There is also
information on evacuation problems on this map (indication of a bridge in red that is flooded for an event with a
return period of more than 1/200 year).

40 http://www.flapp.org/cmsEN/cms/index.asp?itemId=328

Atlas of Flood Maps 154


Figure 5.10 Example of a transboundary map of the Nyssa river from the FLAPP project

5.5 IKRS

Regarding transboundary flood mapping the most important product from the International Commission for the
Protection of the Rhine is the Rheinatlas (2001). The maps of this Atlas are available on the internet41. The maps
themselves are accessible through a clickable PDF file42. As an example, both a flood extension and a damage
potential map are shown for the transboundary region of the Rhine river at the Dutch – German border (Figure
5.11 and Figure 5.12). The legends to the two types of maps are given in Figure 5.13 and Figure 5.14.
Although these maps are similar to those produced by the Flood Information System (see Figure 5.6 and Figure
5.7), the maps of the IKRS give the damage potential in quantative terms (Euro / m2), while the Flood Information
System gives only a relative (qualitative) scale (see legend in Figure 5.8). As such the maps of the IKRS are far
more detailed and provide the user with a better level of information.

41 http://www.rheinatlas.de/

42 http://www.iksr.org/index.php?id=302&type=0#

155 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 5.11 Flooding extension map for the Rhine river at the Dutch – German border

Atlas of Flood Maps 156


Figure 5.12 Damage potential map for the Rhine river at the Dutch – German border

157 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 5.13 Legend of the flooding maps of IKRS

Figure 5.14 Legend of the damage maps of IKRS

Atlas of Flood Maps 158


5.6 SAFER

The SAFER ((Strategies and Actions for Flood Emergency Risk Management) project aims to develop innovative
strategies and prevent and mitigate fluvial and coastal flood damage by working with organisations and agencies
at different levels. The five partner regions involved in the project work are adopting a common approach in
implementing these strategies. The project is approved under the INTERREG IIIB NWE Programme and part-
funded by the European Union (ERDF). A component that is related to transboundary flood mapping is the
Workpackage ‘Hazard Mapping’, which aims at producing a common methodology to produce and provide flood
hazard information to all the partners. Examples of the results of this work package can be found already
elsewhere in this Atlas, e.g. for the German region of Baden-Württemberg (see Chapter 4.8.1), who is the lead
partner in this project. An example of a map that is drawn according to the SAFER hazard mapping methodology
is shown in Figure 4.43 for the Neckar river.

5.7 TIMIS

Transnational Internet Map Information System (TIMIS) Flood is a contribution to a uniform EU policy for flood
protection and is meant to become a model for other regions with transnational flood issues. TIMIS focuses on
both flood hazard mapping and flood forecasting for the border region of Luxembourg, Germany and France.
In Figure 5.15 the extent is shown of the TIMIS project for both flood hazard mapping (approx. 22,500 km2 >90
rivers and >3000 km length of river) and flood forecasting (about 55,000 km2). The project will produce by the
year 2008 transnational hazard maps on a scale of 1:25,000, showing four hazard stages and a transnational GIS
on flood for hazard, forecasting and warning. The maps are accessible through an interactive internet site43 (Figure
5.16). An image of the future GIS environment for flood-hazard related information is shown in Figure 5.17.

Figure 5.15 Extent of the region of the TIMIS project

43 http://www.timisflood.net/en/

159 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 5.16 Internet page for the viewing of interactive flood hazard maps from the TIMIS project

Figure 5.17 Example of the GIS environment of TIMIS for accessing the flood-related information

Atlas of Flood Maps 160


An example of a map produced by TIMIS is shown in Figure 5.18 for a tributary of the Mosel river in Luxembourg.
This is another example of the flood hazard map on a transboundary river, where the same map layout and legend
is used on both sides of the border (see also Chapter 4.8.5 on Rheinland-Pfalz). The maps are produced using the
following information:
• High-precision DTM
• River cross-sections
• Hydraulic modelling
• Hazard classification using four hazard levels.

The four hazard levels are determined by specific combinations of intensity, velocity and frequency of the events.
The legend of the hazard levels is shown in Figure 5.19.

Figure 5.18 Flood hazard map for a tributary of the Mosel river in Luxembourg

161 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 5.19 Legend of the four hazard classes used in the TIMIS project

Atlas of Flood Maps 162


6 Insurance maps
6.1 CatNet

CatNet is an interactive map tool from the insurance company Swiss RE44. It contains information on a number of
natural hazards, including tornados, earthquakes, ‘European winterstorm peak gust’, hail, volcanoes, etc., but also
flood risk and is regarded as a first attempt at a Worldwide Natural Hazard Atlas45. The CatNet flood zones are
based on a wide variety of heterogeneous sources. Therefore, depending on the country, either storm surge
and/or fresh water flood zones are displayed. The main page of the interactive hazard atlas of CatNet is shown in
Figure 6.1 and the selection menu in Figure 6.2. The CatNet is accessible for external users who do have to
register before they can use the information, but only for a trial period of 8 weeks, after which it is a commercial
service.

Figure 6.1 Main user graphical user interface of CatNet

44 http://www.swissre.com/

45 http://www.esri.com/news/arcuser/0402/swissre.html

163 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 6.2 Selection of three bordering countries to extract information on flood hazard in CatNET

CatNet covers a number of European countries. The flood risk information is included for the following countries
(with short description of their content):
• Belgium
Freshwater flood zones are calculated by Swiss Re’s proprietary multiple regression approach. Zones describe
naturally flooded areas affected every 100 years. The effect of flood protection measures was not taken into
account and flood zones along canals are not depicted.
• Czech Republic
Fresh water flood zones are calculated by Swiss Re’s proprietary multiple regression approach. Zones describe
naturally flooded areas affected every 50, 100, 250 and 500 years. The effect of flood protection measures was
not taken into account and flood zones along canals are not depicted.
• Germany
Fresh water flood zones for 10, 50 and 200 year water levels are available. Original data for 10 and 50 year
flood zones have been calculated by Institut für Angewandte Wasserwirtschaft und Geoinformatik (IAWG),
Ottobrunn; Germany. Orginal data for 200 year flood zones have been calculated by Institut für Angewandte
Wasserwirtschaft, Munich, Germany.
The zones for Germany are the result of hydraulic calculations carried out for a river network with a total length
of around 50,000 kilometres. The calculations were conducted using a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) with a
horizontal resolution of 50*50 metres. They do not take flood protection measures into account, i.e. the 10 and
50 year zones are rather too conservative. The flood zones depicted may vary from those in the ZÜRS software
(see Chapter 6.5) provided by the German Insurance Association (GDV).
There is also information available on the Elbe flood event of August 2002.
• Italy
Freshwater flood zones are calculated by Swiss Re’s proprietary multiple regression approach. Zones describe
naturally flooded areas affected every 100 years.
• Hungary
The 100 year and 1000 year zones are based on the 1977 series of ‘Magyarország árvízvédelmi terképei,
VITUKI, 1977’ maps at 1:100,000 scale, which were transferred by VITUKI to a digital format. Areas inundated

Atlas of Flood Maps 164


every 50 years were subsequently introduced by Swiss Re.
• Netherlands
The zoning reflects the design level of the 53 areas defined by the dike ring system (dijkringgebieden) in the
Netherlands, as published by the ‘Meetkundige Dienst’, afd. GAT, Delft, 1996. The protection level of the
diked-in areas exceeds 1000 years. Elevated areas outside the dike-in areas are classified as ‘no data’.
• Slovakia
Fresh water flood zones are calculated by Swiss Re’s proprietary multiple regression approach. The zones
describe naturally flooded areas affected every 20, 50, 100, 250 and 500 years. The effect of flood protection
measures was not taken into account and flood zones along canals are not depicted.
• United Kingdom
The scope of the flood zones in the UK is limited to areas affected by coastal hazards (saltwater flooding) and
based on a study by Dr. J.C. Doornkamp of the University of Nottingham in 1996.

There are also maps and data for Argentina, Israel and the USA.

If we look at the geographical coverage of the CatNET it is evident that this is another example of a transboundary
flood mapping as the combination of the Czech Rebublic, Slovakia and Hungary form one continuous region for
which the flood maps are available. An example is shown in Figure 6.2.

Examples of flood maps available in the CatNET system are shown in Figure 6.3 for Slowakia (which shows the
transboundary coverage with Hungary south of Slovakia) and in Figure 6.4 for Germany (Sachsen-Anhalt).

In general the cartographic layout of the maps is attractive and easy to read, but the level of detail does not allow
the user to acquire a very precise level of detail in the information. The use of the colours, starting from dark blue
for low return period (1/20 yr) to grey for high return periods (500 yr and larger) is unusual and does not provide
the user with an intuitive idea of increased danger level. However, in practice this grey colour represents those
regions that are not threatened by river flooding, or at least not by any major river.

Figure 6.3 CatNet map example: flood risk mapping in Slovakia

165 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 6.4 CatNet map example: flood risk mapping in Sachsen-Anhalt (Elbe river)

6.2 Austria

HORA is an example of a successful public private partnership (PPP) on flood risk zoning and mapping in Austria.
Following massive damages after heavy rainfalls and flooding in summer 2002 in Austria, insurance industry and
public authorities in Austria under guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture (Lebensministerium) and the Austrian
Insurance Association signed a PPP-contract (available in German and English) stating a common project for the
development of a public, common and admission-free risk zoning tool (internet access via Lebensministerium).
Common goal was to create an open risk zoning platform for flood and earthquake. Public authorities were
delivering GIS basis data, modelling and development was done by insurance and reinsurance industry. No direct
exchange of any sort took place, the common result is open to the public since June 1st 2006.

Local risk zoning and mapping is for several regions already available on the HORA system as well.. One can
choose the option under "Legende", if more detailed public information (than probabilistic zoning for 25000 km
river length in HORA) is already existing and HORA has got public access to this local or regional zoning-
information (e.g. for the region of Carinthia). There one can see the risk zones in different colours (yellow and red
instead of blue).

From the point of view of the insurance industry, at a later stage, HORA is expected to develop into a PML
(Probable Maximum Loss)-assessment system for underwriters and risk managers. The fully working public system
will be dedicated for individual information (and work for insurance industry as a second source of risk
information).

The information from the HORA project is available on the internet46. An impression of the interactive internet site
is shown in Figure 6.5. After starting up the map server for the HORA site, a disclaimer is shown in red font with
the text (in German): “I have read the copyright statements and accept them as legal disclaimer”. This statement
need to be accepted by the user before the maps can be accessed. The maps give a delineation of flooding areas
on river catchment level for about 25.000 km of river length on scales varying from 1:10.000 to 1:50.000. The
return periods shown on these maps are 1/30 yr (zone 1), 1/100 yr (zone 2) and 1/200 yr (zone 3). The
information is not yet available for the entire country.

46 http://geoinfo.lfrz.at/website/egisroot/services/ehora2/viewer.htm

Atlas of Flood Maps 166


Figure 6.5 Interactive Internet site for the flood hazard map of the HORA project in Austria

Figure 6.6 HORA window for location of airport of Innsbruck with legend

Users can enter their address information and find out the potential flood risk of their property. Examples of the
maps are shown in Figure 6.7 (with topographic map) and Figure 6.8 (with satellite image) for the area of the
airport of Innsbruck.

167 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 6.7 Example of flood extension map for airport of Innsbruck (with topographic map background)

Figure 6.8 Example of flood extension map for airport of Innsbruck (with satellite image background)

Atlas of Flood Maps 168


6.3 Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic an exceptionally well-developed tool has been made available which allows the user to
assess the flood risk at any location in the country using a map-based user-interface (Figure 6.9). This system,
called FRAT (Flood Risk Assessment Tool), is now used by almost all property insurances in the Czech Republic,
allowing them to identify high exposed risks and more accurately price flood risks.

Figure 6.9 FRAT User Interface

The tool was developed by Swiss Re, as the leading reinsurer and developer of catastrophe models, and MMC, the
leading provider of GIS (Geographic Information System) technology47. It can now price selected properties
according to their flood risk exposure and can also be used as a basis for improved flood accumulation reporting
and control. The tool is designed as a stand-alone software solution (CD-ROM) and offers two basic functional
modes:
• The user, for instance, a risk manager or insurance agent, enters data on the property location using the full
address (street, house number, and city). The address, or part thereof, is located and transformed into
geographic coordinates, which are used for zoning analysis.
• The system generates information on the flood risk exposure of the selected location and displays it on-screen.
The tool distinguishes six different flood risk zones (zones 1 to 6, ranging from very low to very high risk), and
the historically observed maximum flood boundary. The result is also translated into the CAP (Czech Insurance
Association) format for designating tariff zones.

During the past few years, a Swiss Re team of hydraulic engineers, hydrologists, GIS specialists and statisticians
developed statistical methodology to derive flood risk zones based on detailed digital terrain models (DTM). The
prediction success of the methodology prompted Swiss Re to apply for a patent.
• FRAT 1.0 flood risk zoning is based on the best DTM available in the Czech Republic. The DTM features a
horizontal resolution of 10m, i.e. a reading is generated for every 10m of elevation.
• Due to the high impact of local factors, such as river defences or roads which are not reflected in the high
resolution DTM, the high frequency flood risk (zone 6) is not derived by the statistical methodology but by
detailed processing on the part of MMC.

47 http://www.swissre.com/INTERNET/pwswpspr.nsf/alldocbyidkeylu/ULUR-5QBJKQ

169 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 6.10 Example of geo-coding at city level and at street level

An example of the outcome of FRAT, in the form of a risk map, is shown in Figure 6.11, with a distinction into four
(out of maximum six) hazard zones with increasing severity of flooding.

In August 2006 the FRAT 2.0 has been released. The new version of Flood Risk Assessment Tool, which focuses on
property insurance risk assessment is distributed on DVD ROM media and contains address database for whole
territory of the Czech Republic. The Address database is used for address verification and for geocoding of the
property location. The product offers extended set of detailed city plans, covering in total over 160 cities of the
Czech Republic.

The FRAT system is not freely available as it is a commercial product. Swiss Re and MMC have decided to offer
FRAT 1.0 CD-ROMs for a nominal fee to Czech clients of Swiss Re, the Czech Insurance Association (CAP) and to
all companies within CAP. Other insurance companies with insured interests in the Czech Republic can gain access
to the application by written request to Swiss Re or MMC.

Atlas of Flood Maps 170


Description of the zones:
Zone 1 – out of probable max. flood
Zone 2 – up to possible max. flood
Zone 3 – up to average 50 years flood
Zone 4 – up to average 20 years flood

Figure 6.11 FRAT results with flood map showing hazard zones with four steps of severity

An interesting development is the application of this technology to China. Flooding is one of the major threats to
life and property in China, but to date, the insurance industry has had to depend on experience-based ratings,
which have been unreliable especially for very large and infrequent events. Further information is provided on the
internet site of Swiss-RE.

Comments on the maps


Although the layout of the maps is clear and serves its purpose for insurance applications, the choice of the colour
green for risk zones is not intuitive as it suggests safety where this may be misleading. It does also conflict with the
use of green for land use (wooded areas).

171 Atlas of Flood Maps


6.4 France

In Figure 6.12 and Figure 6.13 images of typical screens of an intranet website48 are displayed developed for
dissemination and use by insurance companies of public natural zoning data, by a organization dedicated to
natural risk knowledge and prevention, for the whole French insurance market.

The information is available for consultation with GPS coordinates or downloading of datasets with relevant
metadata (as available from public authorities). Further treatment of the data for more industry specific use of the
public zoning is under development at the level of the organization and/or at the level of each company.

Depending to the existing public data on each location, the flood extension reflects either the highest historical
one or classified in terms of floods being ‘exceptional’, ‘frequent’ or ‘very frequent’ without details on actual
return periods, if not delivered by public authorities.

So far, the indication of urbanization is provided from the relevant themes of the CORINE Landcover land use data
base.

Figure 6.12 Screenshot of flood extension data sets made available to insurance companies in France (large area of Avignon, mainly on the
Rhone river, indicating the urban areas affected)

48 http://www.mrn-gpsa.org/accueil.php

Atlas of Flood Maps 172


Figure 6.13 Screenshot of flood extension data sets made available to insurance companies in France (three flood occurrence zones displayed
for the area of Cavaillon, indicating the urban areas affected)

Information provided on these type of maps:


1. Map Titles : classification of flood zones
2. Type of map: "Flood hazard zoning map, to be used by French insurance market"
3. Responsible authorities / sources :
a) Flood extension data sets: "waterway-data by the services of the French Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable
development water authorities;
b) Referential: selected themes of CORINE Landcover, with other references to be added according to specific
needs,
c) Intranet geoservice developer ; ARMINES on Kheops
d) Project manager : MRN for French insurance associations
4. Date of publication: MRN intranet geoservice in operation since mid 2006, with steady upgrade with new
public data according to their availability
5. Scale: maps are freely scalable on the screen according to data sets scale
6. Explanation of legend: according to public data sets
7. Stage of program: further development for added value services in process, but depending to future the
evolution of insurance scheme.

173 Atlas of Flood Maps


6.5 Germany

In Germany a numeric tool for classification of flood zones developed by German insurance association (GDV) is
available (Figure 6.14) under the name ZÜRS Zonierungssystem für Überschwemmung, Hochwasser und
Rückstau.

Figure 6.14 Classification of flood zones update ZÜRS 2006 – area of flood hazard (Regensburg)

The following information is available on this type of maps:


1. Map Title : Classification of flood zones update ZÜRS 2006 – area of flood hazard (Regensburg)
2. type of map: "Flood hazard zoning map, produced and used by the insurance market in Germany"
3. Responsible authorities / sources :
a) waterway-data by the German water authorities;
b) maps by "NAVTEQ";
c) flood-zoning by "IAWG",
d) programming and additional data by "ESRI", "con-terra" and "geomer";
e) supervisor and project manager: "German insurance association, GDV"
4. date of publication: ZÜRS Version 2.0.12; released August 2006
5. scale: 1:21.151 (scale of this special map as seen on the maps footer, ZÜRS-maps are freely scalable)
6. explanation of legend:
a) GK 4, high hazard: flood at least once in 10 years
b) GK 3, moderate hazard: flood at least once in 10-50 years
c) GK 2, low hazard: flood at least once in 50-200 years
d) GK 1, very low hazard: flood rare than once in 200 years or never
e) B, additional information: small river
7. stage of program: first release of ZÜRS in 2001, ZÜRS 2.0.12 is the fourth release since then.

49 Zonierungssystem für Überschwemmung, Rückstau und Starkregen

Atlas of Flood Maps 174


6.6 Italy

In Italy the insurance association (ANIA) provides flood hazard maps for insurance purposes via CEA, the
European insurance and reinsurance federation. The maps show the flood extension according to different return
periods. They are produced under the responsibility of the Public Basin Authorities or ANIA itself under a special
(SIGRA) project50 . The official internal release is planned for June 2007 and no public release has yet been
established. The maps are produced on a scale of 1:25,000 to 1:5,000 for the SIGRA project maps. In Figure 6.15
an example of a screenshot of a flood hazard map is shown. In general the layout of the maps is straightforward,
although the use of green is unusual as it is normally associated with safety. Nevertheless it is used here for the
floods with the lowest return period (50 years), i.e. the highest threat of inundation.

Figure 6.15 Example 1 of Regione UMBRIA/Provincia di Perugia/Comune di Torgiano

Legend of the map:


Green return period = 50 years
Blue return period = 200 years
Red return period = 500 years

50 http://www.ania.it/sist_inf/prog/sigra/index.asp

175 Atlas of Flood Maps


6.7 USA

Although this Atlas is restricted to examples of flood mapping in the EU countries, as a reference the extensive
mapping program in the USA is very interesting to include in this chapter on flood mapping for insurance purposes
since this program started already in 1969. The program, called National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), is a
Federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase insurance protection against
losses from flooding51. This insurance is designed to provide an insurance alternative to disaster assistance to meet
the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods. Participation in the NFIP
is based on an agreement between local communities and the Federal Government that states if a community will
adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance to reduce future flood risks to new construction in Special
Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), the Federal Government will make flood insurance available within the community as
a financial protection against flood losses.
The program is administrated by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) which identifies flood hazard
areas throughout the U.S. and it's territories by producing Flood Hazard Boundary Maps (FHBMs), Flood Insurance
Rate Maps (FIRMs), and Flood Boundary & Floodway Maps (FBFMs). Several areas of flood hazards are commonly
identified on these maps. One of these areas is the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) or high risk area defined as
any land that would be inundated by a flood having a 1-percent chance of occurring in any given year (also
referred to as the base flood). The high-risk area standard constitutes a reasonable compromise between the need
for building restrictions to minimize potential loss of life and property and the economic benefits to be derived
from floodplain development. Development may take place within the SFHA, provided that development complies
with local floodplain management ordinances, which must meet the minimum Federal requirements. Flood
insurance is required for insurable structures within high-risk areas to protect Federal financial investments and
assistance used for acquisition and/or construction purposes within communities participating in the NFIP.

An important distinction is made between FHBMs and FIRMs. A Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM) is based on
approximate data and identifies, in general, the SFHAs within a community. It is used in the NFIP's Emergency
Program for floodplain management and insurance purposes. A Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) usually is issued
following a flood risk assessment conducted in connection with the community's conversion to the NFIP's Regular
Program. If a detailed assessment, termed a Flood Insurance Study (FIS), has been performed, the FIRM will show
Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) and insurance risk zones in addition to floodplain boundaries. The FIRM may also
show a delineation of the regulatory floodway. After the effective date of the FIRM, the community's floodplain
management ordinance must be in compliance with appropriate Regular Program requirements. Actuarial rates,
based on the risk zone designations shown on the FIRM, are then applied for newly constructed, substantially
improved, and substantially damaged buildings.

The FIRM is the basis for floodplain management, mitigation, and insurance activities for the National Flood
Insurance Program (NFIP). Insurance applications include enforcement of the mandatory purchase requirement of
the Flood Disaster Protection Act, which "... requires the purchase of flood insurance by property owners who are
being assisted by Federal programs or by Federally supervised, regulated or insured agencies or institutions in the
acquisition or improvement of land facilities located or to be located in identified areas having special flood
hazards" (Section 2 (b) (4) of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973). In addition to the identification of
SFHAs, the risk zones shown on the FIRMs are the basis for the establishment of premium rates for flood coverage
offered through the NFIP.
The Standard DFIRM Database presents the flood risk information depicted on the FIRM in a digital format
suitable for use in electronic mapping applications. The Standard DFIRM database is a subset of the Enhanced
DFIRM Database that serves to archive the information collected during the flood insurance study.
In the maps a number of types of areas are distinguished using a coding. The most important codes used are:
Zones AE: Areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event determined by detailed
methods. BFEs are shown within these zones. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone AH: Areas subject to inundation by 1-percent-annual-chance shallow flooding (usually areas of ponding)
where average depths are between 1 and 3 feet. BFEs derived from detailed hydraulic analyses are shown in
this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone AO: Areas subject to inundation by 1-percent-annual-chance shallow flooding (usually sheet flow on

51 http://msc.fema.gov/

Atlas of Flood Maps 176


sloping terrain) where average depths are between 1 and 3 feet. Average flood depths derived from detailed
hydraulic analyses are shown within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone A99: Areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event, but which will ultimately
be protected upon completion of an under-construction Federal flood protection system. These are areas of
special flood hazard where enough progress has been made on the construction of a protection system, such as
dikes, dams, and levees, to consider it complete for insurance rating purposes. Zone A99 may only be used
when the flood protection system has reached specified statutory progress toward completion. No BFEs or flood
depths are shown. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone AR: Areas that result from the decertification of a previously accredited flood protection system that is
determined to be in the process of being restored to provide base flood protection. Mandatory flood insurance
purchase requirements apply.
Zones X: Areas identified in the community FIS as areas of moderate or minimal hazard from the principal
source of flood in the area. However, buildings in these zones could be flooded by severe, concentrated rainfall
coupled with inadequate local drainage systems. Flood insurance is available in participating communities but is
not required by regulation in these zones.
Zone D: Unstudied areas where flood hazards are undetermined, but flooding is possible. No mandatory flood
insurance purchase requirements apply, but coverage is available in participating communities.

The flood maps can be used by a graphical user interface (Figure 6.16). In Figure 6.17 an example is given of the
flood maps that are produced by FEMA as part of NFIP.

An overview of all flood information and links to maps in the USA is available on the internet52.

Figure 6.16 User-interface of the NFIP for selection of flood maps

52 http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/index.jsp

177 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 6.17 Example of the FEMA – NFIP flood insurance maps (Colorado – Boulder County)

Atlas of Flood Maps 178


7 Evacuation maps
7.1 Germany – Hamburg

For the city of Hamburg, detailed information is available on the internet on the activities that are being
implemented for the purpose of flood protection. Maps are available for several parts of the city on flood hazard
and the evacuation routes. On Figure 7.1 a detailed map is shown of part of the city (Wilhelmsburg) with an
indication of the evacuation zones corresponding to different water levels (6.5m and 7.5m), the location of
evacuation locations (‘Fluchtburgen’, indicated with ‘F1….8’), emergency residences (‘Notunterkünfte’, indicated
with ‘N1…4’) and busstops (‘H’) from where evacuation busses will depart. The maps are accompanied by an
extensive description of the expected situation in case of flooding and detailed advice to the general public how to
act in such circumstances.

This is a good example of a well-planned information package for urban population in a very large city. The
information is well-presented and easily accessible, although the files themselves may prove large for slow-speed
internet connections.

Figure 7.1 Part of the map with flood protection and evacuation zones of the city of Hamburg with (German) legend

53 http://fhh.hamburg.de/stadt/Aktuell/behoerden/stadtentwicklung-umwelt/bauen-wohnen/hochwasserschutz/start.html

54 http://fhh.hamburg.de/stadt/Aktuell/behoerden/inneres/katastrophenschutz/service/merkblaetter/start.html

179 Atlas of Flood Maps


7.2 Japan

In Japan municipalities are obliged to inform their inhabitants on the flood risk conform the Flood Fighting Act,
established in 2001. Since 2005 the municipalities are also obliged to take a pro-active attitude by distributing
flood risk and inundation maps freely among the inhabitants in order to increase the flood-preparedness and, as a
secondary goal, to contribute to the spatial planning within the municipality. The flood maps are prepared in two
steps:
1. the Ministery of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the prefecture (for resp. nationwide and regionally
adminstred river basins) determine the flood-prone areas;
2. the municipalities produce the Flood Hazard Maps.

The flood maps are produced following a nationwide standard that is determined by the Ministry, which e.g.
establishes the inundation depth classes (0 – 50, 50 – 100, 100 – 200, 200 – 500 & > 500 cm) and the
corresponding colour codes. The choice of those depth classes is based on ‘human characteristics’:
• 0 – 50 cm: most houses will stay dry and it is still possible to walk through the water;
• 50 – 100 cm: there will be at least 50 cm of water on the ground floor and electricity will have failed by now;
• 100 – 200 cm: the ground floor of the houses will be flooded and the inhabitants have either to move to the
first floor or evacuate;
• 200 – 500 cm: both the first floor and often also the roof will be covered by water. Consequently evacuation is
the logic choice of action now. The same applies, evidently, for the depth class > 500 cm.

Similar to the situation in e.g. the Netherlands, the flood inundation maps are based on hydrodynamic calculations
for several scenarios of possible locations of dike failure. The final map is based on the scenario that would cause
the maximum number of victims, i.e. a worst case approach. The return period of the flood that is shown on the
maps depends on the region as a function of potential damage.
Once such maps have been made on municipal level, the municipality adds local information that is relevant for
evacuation, such as the location of shelters, important buildings, evacuation routes, etc., as well as information on
the items that should be taken along during an evacuation. On some maps space is left for the user to draw a
personal evacuation route map based on the particular situation of the person or family.
All the maps are distributed free of charge to the public on scales of 1:5.000 to 1:10.000, and in some cases they
can be downloaded from the internet. It is the task of the municipality to keep the maps up to date.

Examples of flood maps that are available to the public are shown in Figure 7.2 for the city of Toshima, using the
depth inundation classes mentioned above. As in most cases the legend is only given in Japanese, although in
some cases an English legend is provided. Further information on the preparation of the map is given on the
internet55. On this site all relevant information is given necessary for evacuation in case of flooding, including the
addresses of the shelters.

Other examples are shown in Figure 7.3 and Figure 7.4. Especially the latter gives indications of shelters,
temporary shelters (which probably have fewer resources for a long duration stay), boundaries of evacuation
areas, the location of flood warning speakers and, contrary to general custom, an indication of roads that should
NOT be used for evacuation. The map also provides expected flood depths, although no indication is given to
which return period this applies, and the limits of a recent historical flood. Although this map has some interesting
features that are hardly ever found in other evacuation-type maps (like the earlier mentioned location of ‘flood
warning speakers’), the topographical layout on the scale presented is not sufficiently clear to be used in practical
situations. It may be used, though, for preparation purposes as a training for flood situations. Further information
can be found on the internet56.

55 http://www.city.toshima.tokyo.jp/english/bousai/hazardmap/index.html

56 http://www.icharm.pwri.go.jp/html/docu/jan_20_22_2004_ws/pdf_output/hiroki.pdf

Atlas of Flood Maps 180


Figure 7.2 Part of flood depth map for the city of Toshima in Japan

181 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.3 Evacuation map for the Japanese city of Sukagawa

Figure 7.4 Example of a flood hazard map with indications of evacuation roads

Atlas of Flood Maps 182


7.3 Netherlands

An example of an evacuation map in the Netherlands is shown in Figure 7.5 for polders along the Rhine river near
Germany. This maps shows clearly the mandatory evacuation routes, including indication of one-way converted
roads, closed entrances and exits, and are a easy to interpret by the general public.

In Figure 7.6 the simulation of the expected flood extension for the region of “Land van Maas en Waal” (see also
Chapter 4.14) is translated into a decision-support map that shows the areas that will either remain dry, reach a
water level that leaves the first flood of dwellings dry and those areas that will reach such water depths that
evacuation will be required. In order to take decisions on the best evacuation routes, a map is produced that
shows the time of arrival of the inundation front with a depth of 50 cm at the various types of infrastructure
(especially roads, see Figure 7.7). Depending on the decision up till which depth roads or other escape routes are
still safe to use, maps with the arrival time of dfferent inundation depths can be produced.

Figure 7.5 Example of an evacuation map for the Netherlands with indication of obstructions and lane direction and closed entrances and
exits

183 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.6 Basis for decision making on evacuation (expected inundation depth)

Figure 7.7 Time of arrival of the inundation front of 50 cm depth at infrastructure (roads/elevated areas)

Atlas of Flood Maps 184


7.4 USA

7.4.1 Mississippi
Similar to the comments made on insurance maps, there are a number of very interesting examples of evacuation
maps that can be used as examples for the development of evacuation maps in Europe. In the USA the evacuation
routes are published both by state and central on a clickable map of the entire country57.
In the maps from the USA reference is often made to the ‘contraflow’ principle, i.e. the reversing of the normal
traffic flow direction to change an ordinary two-direction road into a one-direction (evacuation) road to increase
its capacity. Special maps are prepared for such occasions that are referred to as ‘contraflow maps’. An example is
given in Figure 7.8 for a part of the State of Mississippi58 and a detailed map of a road crossing prepared by the
Mississippi Department of Transport is shown in Figure 7.959.

Figure 7.8 Hurricane evacuation routes in Mississippi state with indication of ‘contraflow’ roads

57 http://www.ibiblio.org/rcip/evacuationroutes.html#sbs

58 http://www.gomdot.com/cetrp/hurricane_evac_routes.pdf

59 http://www.gomdot.com/cetrp/hurricane_evac_routes.pdf

185 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.9 Example of detailed maps prepared for road crossings in case of ‘contraflow’ situations

7.4.2 Florida
The State of Florida produces a number of very clear and attractive evacuation maps. An example is shown in
Figure 7.10. This evacuation map is accompanied by a text with an indication of the ‘best’ evacuation route for
each of the villages in the region. The colours refer to expected hurricane / storm surge force (category 1 – 5)

Figure 7.10 Evacuation map for a part of Florida60

60 http://www.firstcoastnews.com/weather/stormtrack/evacuation_map.aspx

Atlas of Flood Maps 186


7.4.3 Louisiana – New Orleans
Evidently after the impact of the hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has become a focus of attention in terms of flood
prevention. Detailed evacuation maps are available for the all of the state of Louisiana (see e.g. Figure 7.11)61,
with for each road crossing a special map that indicates the contraflow plan and detailed instructions for the
evacuation by car (Figure 7.12).

Figure 7.11 Part of an evacuation map for Southwest Louisiana

61 http://www.dotd.state.la.us/maps/

187 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.12 Detail of contraflow at a road crossing (reference to map on Figure 7.11) and detailed instructions

Another example of an evacuation map for the city of New Orleans, including a phased evacuation plan, is given
in Figure 7.13. Very detailed instructions are available in case of a hurricane threat, with emergency shelter
information points, agency contact information, radio frequencies, a guide on how to make a ‘family
communication plan’ and even a chapter on ‘preparing your pets’.

Figure 7.13 Part of evacuation map of area of New Orleans with phased evacuation plan

Atlas of Flood Maps 188


7.4.4 California – Sacramento
A very interesting example of a combination of a flood depth map and a combined rescue / evacuation map is
available for the County of Sacramento in California, including the city of Sacramento itself. Various detailed maps
showing hypothetical levee breaks, inundation levels and the time it would take for waters to rise in affected
neighbourhoods, and rescue and evacuation zones have been made available on the internet62. For a specific
failure location two types of maps can be downloaded:
• Flood Depth Maps: show where the water would flow over time and how deep it would get given the
hypothetical flooding scenario.
• Rescue and Evacuation Route Maps: show rescue areas, evacuation areas, and potential evacuation routes.
− Rescue areas, in red, indicate places where water has the potential to reach a depth of at least one foot after
two hours from the time of a levee failure. People would not be able to drive out and likely would be
stranded and require rescue.
− Evacuation areas, in yellow, indicate places, depending on where the levee breech occurs, that could fill from
1 to 26 feet of water within 10 days, giving most people time to get out safely. Flood depth details are
specified on each map.
− This map also portrays potential evacuation routes (in green) and which evacuation routes would become
inundated over time.

A total of 18 sets of maps are available. Examples of both types of maps, with the corresponding legends, for the
American – River Arden region, are shown in Figure 7.14 and Figure 7.15.

Detailed maps are also available for some of the other States in the USA, especially New Jersey63 and South
Caroline64, but provide no extra information compared to the maps already shown in this Chapter.

62 http://www.msa.saccounty.net/waterresources/floodready/?page=maps

63 http://www.nj.gov/njoem/plan/evacuation-routes.html

64 http://www.dot.state.sc.us/getting/evacuation.shtml

189 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.14 Flood depth map of the county of Sacramento, with indication of location of hypothetical levee failure
and inundation process in time
191 Atlas of Flood Maps
Figure 7.15 Rescue and evacuation route map of the county of Sacramento, with indication of location of
hypothetical levee failure and passable routes in time
193 Atlas of Flood Maps
8 Final Remarks
In the present document a large number of examples of floods maps are shown, produced by various European
countries. The aim of this document is to provide the reader with illustrative examples of various types of flood
maps that might form an inspiration for future mapping efforts. As a kind of final remarks, in this section some
do’s and don’ts are formulated regarding the flood information that can be presented in these type of maps.
In some occasions map examples are described as being very clear and/of as an example of an excellent flood
map. Evidently these are the subjective opinions of the compilers of this document and the users are invited to
browse through it and form a personal opinion that may be brought forward within the context of EXCIMAP.

Although in Chapter 1 a number of different types of flood maps are mentioned, not all these types are equally
well presented.
Most countries have flood extent maps. This flood extent should be related to a specified flood frequency.
Frequencies used in the maps vary from 1/30 to 1/10.000. Most countries use only 2 or 3 different frequencies
(e.g. 1/100 and 1/1000, or the less accurate “frequent” and “exceptional”), Flanders seventeen (2, 5, 10, 15, 20,
25, 30, 40, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 500 and 1000 years). England & Wales distinguish between floods
originating from the sea (1/200) and flood from rivers (1/100), while Ireland gives an indication of the uncertainty
of the flood extent. Maps become difficult to read when flood extent is presented in iso-lines (instead of coloured
surfaces) or when current velocities are presented is arrows (that may merge together with parallel current lines).

Often flood extent for different frequencies is presented in one map. Increasing intensities of blue, suggesting
increasing flood depth, represent the most frequent flooded (deeper) areas (like England & Wales, Finland,
Germany). Flood depth maps may be presented for one representative flood frequency, e.g. 1/100. An interesting
example is from Japan, in which the flood depth intervals are such that it contains “danger/how to act”
information for individuals. In France maps exist that also present flood duration.
Information on historic floods is shown on maps from France, Finland and Ireland. With this type of information
one should be aware that since this flood event floodwave characteristics and floodplain topography may have
changed considerably and that therefore this historic flood may not representative for present conditions.
However, this information is valuable to increase flood awareness.

Flood hazard maps, indicating where the combination of current velocity and waterdepth may be dangerous, are
published in England& Wales. Austria uses the more or less comparable dragforce parameter. In Rheinland-Pfalz
(Germany) and Switzerland this velocity-depth information is related to frequency, expressing this hazard
information in a more sophisticated way for professional users. The dominant colours for this type of hazard
information are red, orange and yellow.

In terms of flood risk maps, official maps indicating potential damage are rare. The only examples are from
Germany (Rheinland-Pfalz, Sachsen). Italy, Spain and Switzerland have official risk zone maps. These maps are
based on the probability of flooding in combination with the land use sensitivity /vulnerability to flooding. In Italy
and Switzerland this risk zonation relates to spatial planning regulations and construction requirements. Specific
vulnerability maps are available in England & Wales (social vulnerability of the population) and Sachsen (Germany)
(vulnerable services, like hospitals).

A special group of flood maps comprise the insurance maps, which are used as a basis for both the general user, to
check on the liability of his/her property to flooding, and the insurance companies to assess the actual risk of
flooding. These maps contain information on flood risk, represented as flood extent probability on damage
potential.

Evacuation maps are slowly becoming more usual, although most of them are still produced outside the EU. USA
and Japan have a large tradition on this and may be valuable when European countries start to prepare these
maps. Examples are found in Germany and also the Netherlands. These maps concentrate on how to act when a
flooding threat becomes evident (evacuation routes, location of refuge/shelters, etc.), often combined with

195 Atlas of Flood Maps


recommendations on what to take with you. Sometimes those maps are combined with “threat” information
(potential flooding depth / flood extent depending on hurricane force).

Apart form flood information (the core of the map of course) some additional information is essential for a proper
use of the map: adequate title, date of publishing, responsible authority, orientation of the map, scale (preferably
with a scale rod, to avoid confusion when printing or copying maps on other scales), relevant topographic
information (roads, railways, buildings, cadastral information (e.g. in Austria)). Interesting opportunities arise when
combining flood maps with Google Earth, however care should be taken to avoid an overload of topographic
information in this way.
Other desirable information is a small set-in map to locate the mapped area. Some Finnish maps indicate the area
covered by the model calculation. In addition the map from Finland has a nice example of a Disclaimer.

Another issue is language: in some instances English is used instead of the local language, but it is recognized that
the use of English, especially on the publicly accessible internet sites, may limit the access to the information for
those people with limited knowledge of English and the local language is preferred. The use of two languages may
make the legend too large or difficult to read. An option is evidently to provide a translation of the map labels in
English, especially on the internet sites.

With maps presented digitally on a computer care should be taken that the legend remains readable, especially
with (scanned) files of original hardcopies. Still many maps will be printed as well (A3 as most frequent maximum
size), which requires that map and legend are printed on the same page.

The Atlas shows for some of the maps a wide variety of layouts. When accompanied by a clear legend this may
not be a problem, however for transboundary catchments / maps it is advisable that a certain level of uniformity is
accomplished. Nice examples of such an approach are shown in the Chapter 5 on transboundary flood mapping.

Apart from the large number of different types of layout, that will be evident when browsing through this
document, it is important to realize that the differences in layout are only the outside of the discrepancies between
the various maps that according to their titles might assume to show the same information (e.g. flood extension
for a certain return period). More important than the differences in layout are the different methodologies that are
used for the production of the flood maps. Although the return period used is the same, the actual calculation
method may be very different and is often not apparent from the map. However, even in cases where background
documents do explain the technical details of the calculations, there are too many differences in the approaches
followed by the various agencies that the maps would possibly become comparable or, at border locations where
they present a continuous line of information, show the same results. And although in theory it would be possible
to use one and the same methodology, it is unlikely that the same results would be generated for e.g. border
stations as the underlying data are often contrasting and/or the length of the measurement series are different for
stations in neighbouring countries.
This demand for uniform approaches not only holds for border areas, but also for maps prepared for different
purposes within a country, e.g. national programmes, EU demonstration projects and reinsurance purposes.
Because of these initiatives for one area different maps may exist, all presenting some type c.q. aspect of flood risk
information.

Atlas of Flood Maps 196


Colofon

Published by Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management


The Netherlands.

With the help of the EXCIMAP members:


Franz Schmid, Heinz Stiefelmayer (Austria),
Wouter Vanneuville (Belgium), Didier de Thysebaert (Belgium),
Vlatko Kadic (Croatia),
Thorsten Piontkowitz (Denmark),
John Goudie, David Murphy (England),
Mikko Sane, Mikko Selin (Finland),
Nicolas Monié, Frédérique Martini, Roland Nussbaum, Marie Renne (France),
Dieter Rieger, Juergen Krempin (Germany),
Péter Bakonyi, Sandor Toth (Hungary),
Mark Adamson (Ireland),
Valentina Vitale (Italy),
Liga Kurpniece (Latvia),
Victor Jetten (ITC),
Robert Slomp (The Netherlands),
Siri Stokseth (Norway),
Radislaw Radon, Marcin Jacewicz (Poland),
José Jiminez, Javier Lastra Fernández (Spain),
Barbro Naeslund-Landenmark (Sweden),
Roberto Loat (Switzerland).

Text: Jos van Alphen, Ron Passchier

Cover: European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, Denmark

Publishing and project management: Robert Slomp, Dick Brouwer

Lay out: Dratex, Lelystad

Print: Drukkerij Feiko Stevens

Contact: Jos van Alphen, Rijkswaterstaat, Centre for Water Management


jos.van.alphen@rws.nl

EXCIMAP was organized by Frederique Martini (France) and Roberto Loat (Switzerland).

The work on this Atlas has lasted from January 2006 till October 2007 finishing with the publication of the document at
hand.

The present document contains examples of a non-exhaustive inventory of the current, existing and accessible good practices
for flood mapping in Europe. It is based on experiences and knowledge available in the countries represented in EXCIMAP.

The work of EXCIMAP started before the "Directive on the assessment and management of flood risks" endorsement (18
September 2007). The Atlas doesn’t intend to present any guidelines on how to implement the Directive despite the work
done to produce it having remained as close as possible to the Directive’s principles. Neither does the Atlas address all
requirements of the Directive.

It has not been verified if the maps and examples presented in this Atlas is compliant with the requirements of the Directive.

197 Atlas of Flood Maps


Atlas of Flood Maps 198
4 Examples of flood risk maps
4.1 Austria

General information
The flood maps of Austria are produced by the Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water
Management. Two types of maps are being produced:
• Flood plain maps
• Flood hazard maps

Flood plain maps are provided for about 5000 km of river stretches on a scale between 1:5.000 and 1:10.000.
A second group of flood plain maps are called Hochwasser Risikozonierung Austria (HORA). These maps are an
example of insurance maps and as such are further discussed in Chapter 6.2.

Flood hazard maps are produced for limited areas on scales between 1:1.000 and 1:5.000 with an accompanying
text. They show expected flood extension for a return period of 1/100 years. For both types of maps, information
is provided on methodology, accuracy, etc. Hazard is expressed in two classes: yellow and red, which is determined
by a combination of flood depth and flow velocity (Figure 4.1).

Figure 4.1 Criteria that determine medium and high risk using depth and velocity

There are yet no flood risk or flood damage maps available.

A further distinction is made between flood control for major rives and torrents (flash floods). Flood hazard maps
for the latter are produced for ‘catastrophic events’ with a return period of 1/150 years. Hazard zones are in fact
given for torrents, avalanches and erosion events. Maps normally cover only a certain village or community.
More detailed information can be found on the internet1.

1 http://www.wassernet.at/

15 Atlas of Flood Maps


Comments on the maps
Four maps are shown as examples of flood maps in Austria for the same region (fictitious region ‘Muster’, Figure
4.2 - Figure 4.5). As a general comment the maps are very clear and especially the cadastre background of the
urbanization and infrastructure make them easy to read. It may be useful for anyone not familiar to the region to
have a small map added that shows the location within Austria. Another comment is that the North indication on
the map is rather small and may obtain a more prominent position, especially in this case where North is not at the
top of the map.

In Figure 4.2 both flood extension and expected water depth are given. In fact both water depth and water level
(absolute value) are given. The latter might give an indication of the flow direction, although a flood extension
map is normally a representation of a static situation, not of the inundation process. For the flood extension, three
standard return periods of 1/30, 1/100 and 1/300 yr are used that are the norm in Austria, but the water depth is
given for the 1/100 yr flood event. The differences between the extensions corresponding to the three return
periods are shown by symbols on lines instead of a system of coloured surfaces. As an alternative use can be made
of an indication of altitude similar to topographic maps, either with colours and/or putting the actual value (30 –
100 – 300) within the lines.
The water depths are given in an interval of 0.25 m, which is probably in line with the accuracy of the information,
but the combination of colours is less common. The smallest depth (0 - 0.25 m) is shown in light blue and darker
hues of blue are used for larger depths up to 1.25 m, but then a shift is made to green with increasing depth
indicated by lighter hues (up to 3.00 m). Green is normally used as an indication of safety and as was explained in
Chapter 3.1. Water depth is preferably indicated by hues of blue. In case there are many intervals the differences
between the various shades of blue may become obliterate and it might be an option to change to a larger interval
(e.g. 0.5 m) instead of using a combination of colours.
Although it can be deduced from the legend that the flood extension and water depth in numbers refer to the
event with a return period of 1/100 yr, this is not indicated in the subtitle of the map.

In Figure 4.3 flood hazard zones are indicated using four levels of hazard (blue, orange, yellow and red). Although
red is normally the highest hazard, it is not immediately clear from the map what the order of the hazards is. The
colour blue is already being used for inundation depth and may be left out of the colour palette here. It is very
useful in this map that the hazard zones are combined with land-use information, although the overall use of the
same colour for this purpose (green) does not allow for an easy distinction between various types of landuse.
There is however also another map available showing these hazard zones on top of an aerial photograph.

In the map showing flow velocities (Figure 4.4) both expected flood extension and flow velocities are shown. The
flow velocities are shown as light blue lines with the value of the velocity indicated by the length of the vector.
There is no indication to which return period the velocity field belongs and the user might assume that the velocity
field is independent of the return period, which is probably not the case. Based on the extension of the velocity
field it can be deduced that it belongs to inundation with the highest (1/300 yr) return period. As a general remark
it should be mentioned that the use of vectors for flow velocities, although in general very clear, might lead to
problems in case of parallel flow lines, because the length of the vectors becomes obliterate.

An interesting and very rare type of map is shown in Figure 4.5 which gives the shear stress / drag force of the
flowing water (in N/m2). There is no indication to which return period the information belongs. In general the
information provided can be used to assess e.g. the probable locations of highest force on buildings and/or where
major erosion can be expected. These locations are also the most dangerous and should evidently be avoided in
case of evacuation.

Atlas of Flood Maps 16


Figure 4.2 Flood extension and water depth map in Austria
17 Atlas of Flood Maps
Figure 4.3 Flood hazard map and indication of danger regions in Austria
19 Atlas of Flood Maps
Figure 4.4 Map showing flow velocities and flood extension for three return periods
21 Atlas of Flood Maps
Figure 4.5 Flood map showing drag force (shear stress - Schleppspannung) as a result of flow velocity
23 Atlas of Flood Maps
4.2 Belgium

4.2.1 Flanders
For the Province of Flanders in Belgium, three types of flood plain maps are developed:
• The NOG-maps (Naturally flooded area map) contain the areas that are known as being flooded through soil-
mapping. These maps show the river sediments (alluvium) and slope (gravity-caused) sediments (colluvium)
zones in the soilmap that has been constructed on a scale 1:20.000
• The ROG-maps (Recently flooded area map) show the recently flooded areas in the period 1988-2006 based
upon manual cartography, local terrain knowledge, photographs, (areal) movies, water authorities, Provinces,
municipalities, consultants and others on topographical maps with scale 1:10.000. An automatic correction of
the ROG-map has been performed using the DTM-Flanders (5*5 m) and GIS-techniques. This side-product is
called the ROG-DHM map
• The MOG-maps (Modelled flooded area maps) shows the flooded areas for about 2000 km of rivers that have
been modelled hydrological and hydrodynamical. The maps show flood extent, flood depth, flood time, flood
frequency (2, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 500 and 1000 years). The MOG-map
can be used till a scale of 1:2500.

The flood extension maps are available from an interactive internet site2 called the “Geo-loket
Overstromingskaarten” and “Geo-loket Watertoets”; the same site is also used for other map purposes, e.g. soil
maps, colour orthophotos, satellite images, water quality, etc. The dark blue in the “Overstromingskaarten” can
be chosen for the ROG or NOG maps or for a combination of the surveyed ROG together with the MOG with a
return period of 25 years. In the “watertoets” the dark blue zones are the combination of the ROG and a MOG
with a return period of 100 years. The light blue zones are the NOG without the built-up areas. Explanation on the
interactive information, and how the flood extensions have been calculated, are given in an accompanying digital
document (“Risicozones overstroming – Begeleidende Nota”). Examples of a map produced with this internet site
are shown in Figure 4.8 and Figure 4.9. There is a legend to the maps, but this is written in Dutch.

Comment on the maps


On the maps, colours are used to indicate areas that are floodable:
• from any water course (pink)
• from the sea (dark green)
• recently flooded (ROG – dark blue)
• floodable by excessive rainfall (brown)
• floodable by either excessive rainfall or from a water course (orange)

Especially the two last items are rare on flood maps.

An example of a ROG maps is shown in Figure 4.6 (overview) and Figure 4.7 (example of detailed map).

2 http://geo-vlaanderen.gisvlaanderen.be/geo-vlaanderen/overstromingskaarten/

25 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.6 Overview of ROG areas in Flanders

Figure 4.7 Detailed ROG map in Flanders

In general the possibilities to find information on the interactive site are very good and it is easy to use also for
non-experts. A drawback is that once a certain area is selected and the user has zoomed into a detail of the map,
there is no overview anymore where in Flanders the location is, e.g. there is no accompanying window that gives
the overall view of the province as is often shown on other internet sites. The amount of information is limited,
but this is evidently also the reason why the maps are easy to interpret. The colour light blue for inundated area is
well-chosen, especially given the low return period. However, both the floodable areas from any water course and

Atlas of Flood Maps 26


‘risk zones, version 2006’ are shown in light blue and it is not immediately clear what is the difference between the
two. Neither is there any indication in the legend on the meaning of the two different hues of blue in the map. A
similar problem occurs in Figure 4.9 where there is no indication what is meant with the thick pink lines.

Figure 4.8 First example of a flood extension map from the Geo-loket of Flanders (Belgium)

Figure 4.9 Second example of flood extension map from Geo-Loket of Flanders (Belgium)

27 Atlas of Flood Maps


Also available – not on the internet – are modelled flood maps, damage maps (as a combination of hazard and
vulnerability for different return periods) and risk maps as a mathematical combination of several damage maps.
Some of the most important inputs are a detailed Elevation Model for the water depths and land use maps to
delimit potential damage zones.

Every hydraulic scenario for the navigable waterways leads to a risk calculation with detailed maps of the present
situation and the alternatives and a generalized overview map has to be made 2-3 times a decade.

Examples of flood risk maps are shown in Figure 4.10, Figure 4.11 and Figure 4.12.

Figure 4.10 Original flood risk map (Actual situation)

Figure 4.11 Flood risk map with alternative discharge assessment

Atlas of Flood Maps 28


Figure 4.12 Difference between the two foregoing maps

4.2.2 Wallonia
In view of the repeated floods in recent years and the extent of the damage they produce, the Walloon
Government decided on 9 January 2003 to implement an overall plan for preventing and fighting against floods
and their effects on victims, called the « Plan PLUIES3 ».

One of the objectives of the “Plan PLUIES” is to determine the flooding areas for the whole territory of the
Walloon Region, taking advantage of the preparatory work already done (topographic measurements of minor
and major beds of rivers, inventory (survey) of areas flooded by overflowing rivers in the past, soil numerical
map,…). Concretely speaking, it consists of establishing two types of maps:
− the flood hazard map, showing the territories that are likely to be flooded by overflow of rivers, which is the
main subject of this memo;
− the flood risk map, showing potential damage to vulnerable, flood-sensitive elements located in zones where
there is a flood hazard.

The principles of the methodology developed by the GTI (Groupe Transversal Inondations – Cross-sector Flood
Group of the Walloon Region) were inspired by the « floodability » method developed by Cemagref, the French
Institute for agricultural and environmental engineering research, duly adapted to the specificity of the Walloon
topography and territory. While taking account of basic data available or being collected, it provides a coherent set
of various tried-and-true scientific methods and can be applied to the entire Walloon territory. This methodology
was approved by the Walloon Government on 21 November 2002.

Flood hazard maps


A flood hazard by overflow of rivers exists in areas where flooding can take place, with variable frequency and
severity, as a result of a "natural" overflow of a river. The map shows the areas and their characteristic level of
hazard. The hazard level can have three values: low, medium and high.
In practice, the degree of flood hazard is based on a combination of two factors: recurrence of flooding (return
period or occurrence) and its extent (depth of submersion).

3
• Plan
Recurrence
PLUIES : plan de Prévention et de LUtte contre les Inondations et leurs Effets sur les Sinistrés (plan for preventing and combating floods
and their effects on the victims

29 Atlas of Flood Maps


Recurrence of a flood is linked to the return period of high water regimes, which implies statistical computing of a
historical series of flow data or of a synthetic series drawn from precipitation measurements using a hydrological
integrated model. When the data required for statistical computing are not available, recurrence can be
determined through evaluation of the occurrence of flooding, on the basis of observations and surveys in the field.

• Submersion
The submersion of a flood is characterised mainly by its extent and depth. Hydraulic (2D or 1D) models that
digitally reproduce minor and major beds of rivers are needed to determine this. When data needed to use
hydraulic methods are not available, submersion is characterised by its extent, by applying the "hydropedological"
method, based on information taken from digital topographic map and pedological maps, among others.

• Hazard of flooding
The flood hazard (low, medium, high) is computed from combining the values of recurrence and submersion (see
Figure 4.13). In the event of frequent flooding with a high submersion, the flood hazard will be high and,
conversely, rare flooding with a low submersion will result in a low flood hazard. Note that corrective factors can
be inserted for specific conditions of the speed of the current or the duration of submersion, or when protective
works are present.

Figure 4.13 Determination of flood hazard in Wallonia

The combination of the methods for determining recurrence and submersion produce data which show the value
of hazard, after being integrated, cross-referenced and processed using the hazard determination grid, as
illustrated on Figure 4.14.

Atlas of Flood Maps 30


Figure 4.14 Integration of the methods for determining recurrence and submersion

Examples maps
The flood hazard maps for Wallonia are produced as the outcome of the combination of maps showing field
surveys (occurrence of historical floods), extension of the floodplain and the results of a hydraulic modelling. An
example of the resulting flood hazard map is shown in Figure 4.15.

31 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.15 Example of a flood hazard map from Wallonia (sub-basin Dendre)

Comments on the map

The general layout of the map forms an attractive combination based on transparent colours overlaying a
topographic background map in grey scale. The choice of the colours on the example flood hazard map for
Wallonia are logic and intuitive, but it would be interesting to mention both a qualitative (‘low / medium / high’)
and quantitative value (’25 / 50 / > 100 years’) for the hazard in the legend. The information provided on the
map is also rather limited compared to other example maps in this Atlas.

Atlas of Flood Maps 32


4.3 Croatia

In Croatia a pilot project has been carried out for the preparation of flood risk maps for river basin management
purposes in 2004. The maps are produced on a scale of 1:100.000. In the Figure 4.16 to Figure 4.21 the results
are shown for the river Krapina subbasin.

Figure 4.16 Overview of the river Krapina basin

33 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.17 Extent of expected flooding for events with a return period of 5 years

Figure 4.18 Extent of expected flooding for events with a return period of 1000 years

Atlas of Flood Maps 34


Naselja = settlements

Figure 4.19 Landcover flooded for events with a return period of 1000 years

Figure 4.20 Damage map for events with a return period of 1000 years

35 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.21 Overview of expected extent of flooded area for various return periods

Comments on the maps


Although the overview map of the Krapina basin (Figure 4.16) is very nice from a cartographic point of view, it
lacks a legend and as such it is not very informative. Similarly the two maps of the expected flood extension for
return periods of 5 and 1000 years (resp. Figure 4.17 and Figure 4.18) do evidently show the difference flooded
area, but lack background information, e.g. a subset of the information provided on the overview map. On the
other hand the map showing the expected flooded area for various return periods (5, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 1000
years) does have a reasonable background, although in fact it only shows the basin limits and the drainage
pattern. The information provided is difficult to judge as there is no clear measuring rod to read the actual
difference between the flooded areas for the various return periods. It does show very neatly the difference in
flooded area between the upper basin (very large) and lower basin (relatively small), but this is simply a function of
the size of those subbasins. It would be interesting to show the relative inundated area, i.e. as percentage of the
total basin area.

Croatia is one of the few countries that provides flood damage maps and in Figure 4.19 and Figure 4.20 a land
cover map and flood damage map are shown for the same river basin. In general the areas that are expected to
witness damage during an event with a return period of 1/1000 years correspond with the flood extension map in
Figure 4.18. In addition to that, although the flood damage map lacks a legend, it is evident that the darker red
colours correspond to higher expected damage as these areas coincide with the settlements (Naselja in Croatian)
on the landcover map.

Atlas of Flood Maps 36


4.4 Denmark

In Denmark the Danish Coastal Authority has only published a few flood maps for specific study areas, such as the
areas along the Danish West coast and the Ribe polder area (Wadden Sea region). Flood maps on the internet are
not available yet. Two examples of flood maps in Denmark are shown in Figure 4.22 and Figure 4.23.

Figure 4.22 A very extreme flood disaster event with a return period of 1/4000 yr in the Ribe polder area

37 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.23 A flood event of 1/100 yr for a dune area at the Danish West coast

Comments on the maps


In Figure 4.22 both the expected inundated area and the infrastructure of the same region are shown. In the
legend, a distinction has been made between roads with a height of 3-6 m and those above 6 m, but it is not clear
which of those roads might become inundated for the particular event (probably both, given that the situation
refers to a 1/4000 year flood). Such information might form the basis for an evacuation map. They roads are also
difficult to distinguish on the map and the line for roads over 6 m might easily be confused with the ‘dike line’,
although the latter is much more pronounced.

The map in Figure 4.23 is difficult to interpret for an outsider as it is not immediately clear on which side the sea is
located. The fact that the buildings on the right side of the map are inundated suggests that this is the land side
and the left side the coastal area which also becomes partly flooded during the event. This map would benefit
from more background information on the map and in the legend and both maps lack a North indication and a
scale rod.

Atlas of Flood Maps 38


4.6 Finland

In Finland many types of flood maps are produced which are summarized in the following table with an example
of the layout of each of them.

Some flood map types used in Finland.

There are also many historical flood maps, i.e. maps showing the extent of historical floods. They can be used in
combination with flood extension maps, but their use may be limited when referring to floods that occurred many
years ago, especially in urban areas, as major changes may have occurred in the geometry of the river bed.

55 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.30 Flood hazard map for the city centre of Lapua for 1/1000 yr flood event

Atlas of Flood Maps 56


Figure 4.31 Flood hazard map of the city of Pori (water depths for 1/250 yr event)

57 Atlas of Flood Maps


Comments on the maps
The flood maps from Finland are among the most complete and clearest examples that can be found. The maps
are available for various return periods. In Figure 4.30 an example is given for the city of Lapua in Western Finland
for a flood event with a return period of 1/1000 yr. The layout of this map is very clear and easy to read also for a
non-expert. It is also interesting that it not only gives the extent of the expected flooding, but also the maximum
extent of the area that was incorporated in the flood modelling (with a green line), i.e. no information is available
outside these boundaries. Isolated areas within the flooded areas are shown by hatching, but this is more difficult
to distinguish on the map. The combination with type of urbanization makes the map useful as basis for flood
damage assessment. There is an inserted window to show the location of the detailed map and both scale and
orientation of the map are very clearly indicated. All information on the background data of the map, including
the basis for the delineation of the flood extension, is summarized in a table on the same map page.

For the flood hazard map that is shown in Figure 4.31 for the city of Pori the expected water depths are given for
an event with a return period of 250 year. The map shows both the flooding of unprotected areas and, with
shading, the areas that will be flooded in case of failure of dikes. It is assumed that all dikes will fail, i.e. it is a
worse-case scenario. Also here the maximum extent of the modelled area is indicated by a green line.
As with the flood extension map, at the bottom of the map, additional information is given, among which the
basis for the calculation of the corresponding discharge: frequency analysis with the Gumbel distribution. The
corresponding water levels are calculated with a 1-D hydrodynamic model. Such information is rarely given with
flood maps and it is often even difficult to find this type of technical background information in accompanying
documents.

It is also interesting that these maps show in a very prominent position a disclaimer in red: “The purpose of the
map is to give a general view of the extent and depth of a 250-year flood. It is not reasonable to use the map for
a building-specific analysing. More information: http://www.ymparisto.fi/.”. This is a very clear statement and it
can be assumed that this message will not easily be overlooked as might happen with disclaimers in separate
internet pages and/or accompanying documents. On the specified internet site, more detailed information is
indeed provided (albeit evidently in Finnish) and more examples of flood maps can be downloaded.

Atlas of Flood Maps 58


4.7 France

France has interactive flood maps for various regions on the internet. A few examples are given below.

General information
In the following figures first examples are given of four interactive internet sites that are available in France to
obtain flood extension maps for different regions.

In Example 1 a nationwide system is shown that allows the user to access flood-related risk information for a
number of regions in France.

The other three examples are administered by different agencies and as such the layout of these sites is completely
different. The three examples are produced by different methods:
• Example 2 – Carte Rhône river – region of Avignon: based on hydrogeomorphology;
• Example 3 – Nord Pas-de-Calais: based on modelisation
• Example 4 – Ile-de-France region: based on historical flood maps.

A fifth example of flood maps from France is produced by the insurance sector and therefore discussed separately
in the corresponding Chapter 6.4.

Example 1 – Ministere de l’ecologie et du developpement durable


An interesting source of information on the risk of natural disasters can be found on a central internet site of the
Ministère de l’écologie et du développement durable7. On this site, called ‘Cartoristique’ the risk of natural
disasters has been centralized from various local sources. One of the main reasons for making this information
available to the public is the “Plan de Prévention des Risques naturels (PPR)”, which was created by the law of 2
February 1995, and which includes evidently flood risk. The use of the risk information in the insurance against
floods is further discussed in Chapter 6.4.

7 http://cartorisque.prim.net/index.html

59 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.32 Overview page of the nationwide risk internet site

On Figure 4.32 an overview is given of the regions in France for which risk maps are available (shown in dark
blue, light blue means “not yet available”). Risks refer to a number of natural risks, including avalanches, etc., but
for this purpose flooding is only relevant. After choosing a certain region, a new map becomes available within
which by zooming the flood hazard along a river can be shown (e.g. Thionville along the Mosel river in Figure
4.33). Depending on the choice of the region, the extent of a number of historical floods can be shown. By
clicking anywhere within a flood-prone region, additional information becomes available which shows that the
flood extent refers to a flood with a return period of 1/100 years and it also makes a background document
available on the chosen location with an overview of historical natural disasters (in this case floods).

Comments on the maps


The main advantage of this system is evidently that it uses a common layout for all the departments in France,
despite the fact that different sources of information may be at the basis. The layout is straightforward and easy to
understand, with both the detailed map with the actual required information and the overview map in the same
window. There is, however, no indication on the maps themselves to which return period the flood risk map refers.
The use of different historical floods makes it impossible to compare adjoining maps, but this is not a major
drawback. The use of the various map layers is well organized, with an indication that certain background layers,
such as a scanned topographical map and orthographic (aerial) photos, can only be shown after the user has
zoomed in sufficiently (Figure 4.34).

Atlas of Flood Maps 60


Figure 4.33 Example of a flood extension map for Thionville on the Mosel river

61 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.34 Effect of different levels of zooming in on the availability of background layers in the Cartorisque system
(Abbeville on the Somme river)

Atlas of Flood Maps 62


Example 2 - Rhône river – region of Avignon8

Figure 4.35 Example of flood extension internet site of the Rhone river region

Figure 4.36 Flood inundation maps for city of Avignon with both historical floods (1856 and 2003) and expected inundation areas

8 http://www.geomapguide.com/diren/Risques/Dynamap_risques.htm

63 Atlas of Flood Maps


Comments on the maps
The layout of the interactive internet site for the Rhône river, and more in detail shown for the region of Avignon
in Figure 4.36, is very attractive and easy to work with also for a non-expert. It shows a combination of historical
floods (in this case 1856 and 2003) and expected flood extension. For the latter, though, there is no information
to which return period the indicated area belongs. The map was build on the basis of a topographic map with a
scale of 1:25.000. There is a clear indication of the location of the detailed map within the overall region. There is
no North indication, but in this case all maps are automatically orientated with North at the top of the map.
Although it is interesting to show historical floods with the flood extension information, it should be remarked that
the extension of floods in the 19th century, as in this case for 1856, may be of limited value given the fact that
many changes may have occurred since that time in the geometry of the river cross-sections.

Example 3 - Nord Pas-de-Calais9

Figure 4.37 Example of the river Yser in Nord Pas-de-Calais

Comments on the maps


The layout of the internet site for the Nord Pas-de-Calais (Figure 4.37) is clear and easy to interpret. In this case
also a combination is shown of historical floods (here a flood of 2001) and the expected flood extension for evens
with a return period of 1/10 yr (‘décennale’) and 1/100 yr (‘centennale’). There are also indications possible of the
preferential flow path and storage areas. The former may be used as indication where higher flow velocities can be
expected, although no flow velocity map is provided. Information on flood depth and duration of the flooding is
given for isolated points (depth with green, duration with black) and this type of data is shown whenever such a
point is highlighted with the mouse. Depth is given with 0.1 m precision for the historic flood and the two return
periods. The duration is given as an order of magnitude (e.g. 1 – 2 days), but there is no information on the map
to which return period this information refers.

9 http://carto.ecologie.gouv.fr/HTML_PUBLIC/Site de consultation/site.php?map = azi_yser.map&service_idx=24W htm

Atlas of Flood Maps 64


Example 4 - Ile-de-France region10

Figure 4.38 User-interface of the flood map site of the Ile-de-France

Figure 4.39 Detail of the flood inundation map for the Ile-de-France

Comments on the maps


For the Ile-de-France region only historical flood extensions are given and it is only included here as an example of
a flood map of a very densely populated urban area (region Paris). Different historical floods can be chosen from
the internet site.

10 http://carto.ecologie.gouv.fr/HTML_PUBLIC/Site%20de%20consultation/site.php?map=essai_PHEC.map&service_idx=18W

65 Atlas of Flood Maps


Atlas of Flood Maps 66
4.8 Germany

For Germany there are many different maps as each of the “Länder” makes its own maps, but recently (2006)
recommendations have been published on national level for the production of flood maps11. Examples in this
document include maps from Baden-Württemberg, Bayern, Nieder-Sachsen (including Bremen), Nordrhein-
Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Sachsen and Sachsen-Anhalt.

4.8.1 Baden-Württemberg
For Baden-Württemberg there are interactive maps available for both flood extension and flood depth on the
internet12. However, there is still very limited information available (only the Neckar river between Mosbach and
Heidelberg, see Figure 4.41). There is a clear corresponding document available in PDF-format directly from the
map page in which the procedure is explained of the production of the flood maps. Information is given for return
periods of 1/10, 1/50, 1/100 and an ‘extreme’ situation. The latter is explained in the text as a ‘statistically very
rare event. It can be defined as a historical event, which may be different for different locations, e.g. due to
obstruction by bridges’. It is not possible to give any return period to such an event.

In Figure 4.40 the various concepts are shown that are used for the elaboration of the flood maps of Baden-
Württemberg. Important are the possibilities to indicate whether a certain area is located behind a flood defence
and the return period for which this flood defence is still effective.

In Figure 4.41 the (restricted) river stretch is shown for which flood maps are made publicly available (Neckar
river). Examples of flood maps for this region are shown in Figure 4.42 and Figure 4.43. They can be accessed
from the internet13. As stated on the internet site of Baden-Württemberg all the maps are produced as part of the
EU-funded SAFER project (see Chapter 5.6). Baden-Württemberg has also produced an English-language
guidebook ‘Flood Risk Maps in Baden-Württemberg’, as part of the SAFER EU project, which forms the basis for
the production of the flood hazard maps. The map in Figure 4.43 is an example of a map that is produced
following these (SAFER) guidelines.

11 Deutsche Vereinigung für Wasserwirtschaft, Abwasser und Abfall (DWA), Arbeitsgruppe Hochwassermanagement:

“Empfehlungen der Bund-/ Länderarbeitsgemeinschaft Wasser (LAWA) zur Aufstellung von Hochwasser-Gefahrenkarten”
12 http://rips-dienste.lubw.baden-wuerttemberg.de/rips/hwgk/

13 http://www.hochwasser.baden-wuerttemberg.de/

67 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.40 Examples of the definition of flood inundation areas (Baden-Württemberg)

Atlas of Flood Maps 68


Figure 4.41 Location for which flood maps are available in Baden-Württemberg (Neckar river)

Figure 4.42 Example of a flood extension map from Baden-Württemberg (Neckar)

69 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.43 Example of flood depth map (Neckar river)

Comment on the maps


The flood extension map (Figure 4.42) is rather detailed and easy to read. The inundated area for each return
period is shown as the increment compared to the lower return period, the results on the map being in line with
the intuitive interpretation that higher return periods result in larger (=darker hue of blue) water depths.

For the flood depth map (Figure 4.43) the information is only provided for the ‘extreme’ flood, which has no clear
return period, although in the case of the maps shown above it corresponds with the extension of the 1/100 year
flood (possibly because no major historical flood information is available). The use of colours is unusual as normally
flood depth is only shown in shades of blue. The present succession from yellow to red is normally used in flood
risk maps to indicate increased level of danger. Step size of 0.5 m is logic and probably consistent with the level of
precision of the underlying data.

4.8.2 Bayern (Bavaria)


With the “Information Service on Flood Hazard Areas” detailed flood plain maps for Bayern are shown on the
internet14, open to the public. The service was published by the Bavarian Environment Agency in March 2004. It
contains:
− Flood plains (German: Überschwemmungsgebiete). Usually these areas are calculated for a 100 year flood by
means of hydraulic modelling and based on high-precision digital elevation models. Up to the end of 2008
flood plain maps will be produced for all big and medium rivers in Bavaria (~ 9.000 river kilometres) in a scale
of 1:2.500 to 1:5.000. Furthermore the extension of the programme on small rivers is planned.
− Flood prone areas (German: Wassersensible Bereiche): Derived in a scale of 1:25.000 they represent an
estimation of potentially hazardous areas by interpreting soil maps (natural flood plains). Water sensible areas
are only developed for online presentation. As they are available almost all over Bavaria, they are provided as
very simple and basic information for the public, to assess the risk of flooding or high ground water level.
The integration of flood hazard maps into the web mapping service is planned. First pilot studies are already
started.

14 http://www.iug.bayern.de

Atlas of Flood Maps 70


The internet site with an example for the region of Regensburg is shown in Figure 4.44.

Figure 4.44 Interactive internet site for flood maps in Bayern

Comment on the map


Compared to many other interactive flood map sites, the site for Bayern shows limited information and as such is
of course also easy to interpret. The outstanding feature of the mapping service is the possibility to get very
detailed information on the extension of floods. With changing background map zooming in is possible up to a
scale that shows every house and parcel (Figure 4.45). Thus utilization restrictions due to water legislation are
comprehensible for everyone. In the information provided on the map, it is indicated that the flood inundation
area normally corresponds with an event with a return period of 1/100 yr, but in some cases either 1/30 yr or
1/300 yr. In a few cases it represents the extent of a historical flood and further inquiry may be necessary to clarify
what the flood extent for a certain location means.

71 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.45 Detail of the interactive internet site precisely showing the affection of houses and parcels

4.8.3 Nieder-Sachsen / Bremen


For Nieder-Sachsen and the city of Bremen flood hazard maps are available on the internet as downloadable map
sheets in PDF format15. An example is given in Figure 4.46. The legend to the maps is only available in German,
but the expected flood extension for a return period of 100 years is shown in light-blue. Diagonal hatching
indicates regions for which the maps are still being produced, while dark-blue is used for flood water retention
areas. The city of Bremen is covered by two map sheets (nrs. 4 and 9). According to the accompanying text (in
German) the inundation areas are calculated by 1-D hydraulic models and, for more complex situations, with 2-D
hydraulic models. The approach is based on a steady-state situation, i.e. no calculations are made of the actual
inundation process and therefore no information is available on the duration of the inundation. Maps are given on
a scale of 1:200.000. New detailed maps for some areas on a scale of 1:25.000 are also available on the same
internet site and it is the aim to finalize the inundation mapping for the whole of Nieder-Sachsen in 2008.

15 http://www.mu1.niedersachsen.de/master/C7774004_N11348_L20_D0_I598

Atlas of Flood Maps 72


Figure 4.46 Example of flood map for Nieder-Sachsen with part of the city of Bremen

Comments on the map


The flood hazard maps of Nieder-Sachsen are easy to read due to the combination of clear colours for the
inundated areas and a topographical background. The information provided is limited, with only the expected
extension of the inundation without any indication of the expected depth. The legend is only provided on the
overall map with the location of the map sheets, no legend is available on the map sheets themselves. Such a
legend is available, though, on the newly produced more detailed maps.

4.8.4 Nordrhein-Westfalen
For Nordrhein-Westfalen use is made of maps, which can be downloaded from the corresponding internet site16.
Information on flood extension is given for the Rhine river for a return period of 1/500 yr and the smaller streams
for 1/100 yr. The maps are available as PDF files and are very detailed. Interestingly the maps also show regions
that may be used as emergency inundation areas. In Figure 4.47 this is shown with the normal flood extension in
dark-blue and the emergency inundation areas in yellow and pink. The yellow areas are flooded in for floods with
a return period of 100 years in case no action is taken, while the pink areas are restricted region for inundation and
only used in special cases.

16 http://www.lua.nrw.de/wasser/hwberkarten.htm

73 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.47 Flood extension maps in Nordrhein-Westfalen including emergency inundation area

In Figure 4.48 an example is given of the Rhine river in the region of Köln that shows the expected inundation
area for an event with a return period of 1/500 yr for the Rhine, with a distinction between inundated area along
the main river channel (light blue) and behind dikes (hatched yellow). For the tributary of the Sieg in the right
upper part of the map, both the expected inundated area for a return period of 1/100 yr is given as well as the
emergency inundation area (in yellow and pink).
The legend is rather small and not easy to read, even when printed on A3 format as in this case. This illustrates the
problem of reproducing scanned original topographic maps as background to flood maps.

The access link to an interactive map is already shown on the internet site where the maps of Nordrhein-Westfalen
are available, but has not yet been activated.

Atlas of Flood Maps 74


Figure 4.48 Example of a flood extension map with indication of emergency inundation areas along the Rhine
75 Atlas of Flood Maps
4.8.5 Rheinland-Pfalz
Rheinland-Pfalz has a very complete interactive map internet site17 for the Mosel basin with many possibilities for
adjusting the map and searching for e.g. rivers, locations, etc. It is based on a high-precision elevation model. The
use of river kilometres (in steps of 500 m) to focus on river stretches is particularly helpful. The map is used to
show information on expected flood extension (for return periods of 1/50, 1/100, 1/200 and ‘extreme’ events)
and also for a second class of information (‘Danger classes’, with a distinction in four classes). It is possible to show
the four types of extension as well as the danger (or hazard) classes in one map, but evidently the information will
overlap and may be partly lost. Deriving the hazard stages is based on a method in which the degree of hazard is
expressed by the intensity (water depth and flow velocity) of a flood event in combination with the probability of
its occurrence. Using a hazard matrix - an intensity-probability diagram - these two parameters are summarised to
be expressed as hazard stages (see below).

The hazard stages show the degree of danger to persons, animals and property and are differentiated into three
degrees of hazard, distinguishable by the colours red (substantial hazard), orange (moderate hazard) and yellow
(minor hazard). In order to be able to calculate the residual hazard, the hazard situation for very rare events
(extreme floodwater run-off) was examined. These areas are shown as yellow-white hatched.

A similar approach with a hazard matrix is adopted in Switzerland and Belgium (Wallonia).

17 http://www.gefahrenatlas-mosel.de

77 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.49 Example of flood extension map for the Saar river

Figure 4.50 Danger class map of the lower part of the Kyll river

Atlas of Flood Maps 78


Figure 4.51 Flood extension map of the lower part of the Kyll river

The danger or hazard classes do not correspond with the flood extension classes and return periods. They are
defined based on the initiative of the international TIMIS-project (see Chapter 5.7) through which hazard maps for
more rivers in Rhineland-Palatinate are elaborated. The maps will be available in the internet in 2008 and will
provide a lot more information for the user. The four danger classes that are used on those maps are further
discussed in Chapter 5.7 on the TIMIS project. Figure 4.52 shows an example of an improved hazard map for
Rheinland-Pfalz.

Figure 4.52 Example of a hazard map for Rheinland-Pfalz

79 Atlas of Flood Maps


Comments on the maps
The internet application for the Mosel river in Germany is among the most complete that is presently available.
The layout is very clear and the information provided also very complete. The three examples of the internet site
itself (Figure 4.49, Figure 4.50 and Figure 4.51) show expected flood extension and flood risk according to the
classification explained above. It is possible to show both the flood extension and the risk level in one map,
although sometimes the information will be obliterated. Return periods can be chosen (1/50, 1/00, 1/200 and
‘extreme flood’) and the user can interactively change the details of the background information, including
vegetation, names of towns, etc. Colours are well-chosen and make it immediately clear to the user which areas
have the highest risk. There are very easy to use search options, e.g. for a certain town and it is also possible to
jump directly to a certain location along a river using river kilometre indications. This internet flood map site might
form an interesting example for other agencies that want to provide their information interactively.

4.8.6 Saarland
Also the maps for the Saarland region are based on an interactive map site18. An example is shown in Figure 4.53.

Figure 4.53 Example of a flood extension map for the Saarland region (1/200 yr event)

Comment on the map


Although the map is rather clear, especially the topographical information, the large number of parallel dark-blue
lines, indicating the limits of the expected flood extension for a 1/200 year event, may be more difficult to
distinguish than the method based on coloured surfaces.

4.8.7 Sachsen
For Sachsen there is an interactive internet site19 where a choice is given between flood inundation maps
(Uberschwemmungskarte) and flood damage maps (Schaden¬potential¬karte). In Sachsen some major cities are
located, such as Leipzig, Dresden and Chemnitz. Dresden is particularly interesting as it has witnessed major flood
events in the recent past due to high water levels on the Elbe river (especially August 2002, for which a historical
flood extension map is also available). It should be remarked that the maps have been produced as part of the
transboundary ELLA project (see Chapter 5.3).

18 http://www.gis.saarland.de/website/usg1/viewer.htm?Title=%DCberschwemmungsgebiete

19 http://www.umwelt.sachsen.de/de/wu/umwelt/lfug/lfug-internet/interaktive_karten_10950.html

Atlas of Flood Maps 80


Flood extension maps
On the flood extension maps it is possible to show expected flood extensions for three return periods: 1/20,
1/100 and ‘extreme’, which according to the description is higher than any historical flood extent and at least
more than 1/300 years. For the three return periods it is possible to show the corresponding expected flood
extent, but only for the ‘extreme’ situation it is also possible to show the expected flood depth. Use is made of an
intelligent map program that avoids ‘overlapping’ information, e.g. trying to show both extension and water
depth, the latter showing evidently automatically already the extension. It is interesting that it is possible also to
show vulnerable locations such as hospitals, energy installations, water production and industrial areas. The
examples are shown for Leipzig and Dresden (Figure 4.54 and Figure 4.55).

Figure 4.54 Flood extension map of the region of Leipzig

Figure 4.55 Flood extension map of the region of Dresden

Comments on the maps


In general the use of the colour green for flood extension (and in this case use is made of hues of green to show
the flood extension corresponding to the three return periods) is unusual, but most likely has been chosen to allow
for the combination of both flood extension and expected water depth in the same figure. It should be remarked,
though, that green is normally used to indicate safety, which is not the case in this map. This shows the conflict in
colouring that will occur when several themes are shown in the same map.

81 Atlas of Flood Maps


Flood damage maps
The layout of the flood damage maps is similar to the flood extension maps. Examples for Leipzig and Dresden are
shown again (Figure 4.56 and Figure 4.57), but with a higher level of detail as in this case map layers with details
on the expected damage become visible.

Figure 4.56 Flood damage map of the region of Leipzig

Figure 4.57 Flood damage map of the region of Dresden

Comments on the maps


These maps give very detailed information on the potential damage during ‘extreme’ floods, with a distinction
between industry and urban damage. Colours are well-chosen and evidently the user can change interactively
both the region and the scale that is wanted.

Atlas of Flood Maps 82


4.8.8 Sachsen-Anhalt
For Sachsen-Anhalt a number of very detailed maps are available on the internet20 in PDF format. In Figure 4.58
an example is shown for the river Elbe at the city of Magdeburg for an event with a return period of 1/100 yr.

Figure 4.58 Flood extension map for the river Elbe at Magdeburg

Comment on the map


This is an example of a very clear map, partly due to the limited type of information that is provided. They have a
detailed topographical background. Flood depths are given in a non-linear scale (0.5, 1, 2 and 4 m), which may
lead to confusion. Although the maps are freely available from the internet, they can not be copied or printed.

20 http://www.ella-interreg.org/gefahrenkarten0.html

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4.9 Hungary

In Hungary flood maps have been produced for the major rivers, but most of the maps are rather old and have not
been updated since 1977. Only flood extension has been presented.

Figure 4.59 Flood map of the Tisza river basin

85 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.60 Flood map at Madocsa on the River Danube in Southern Hungary

Comments on the maps


In Figure 4.59 example of a flood extension map is given for the Tisza river. The example is the version in scale
1:500,000, but the maps are originally made in 1:50,000 and 1:100,000.
Although it is originally called flood hazard map, it shows the expected flood extension for return periods of 1/100
and 1/1000 yr. The map is an example of a flood extension map without any special additions and as such is very
easy to interpret.

A map of a Danube flood area in 1:50,000 is shown in Figure 4.60. The same return periods are used at this
example and also the flood embankments are shown. Flood embankments are very important in Hungary: about
97% of the floodplains are protected by dikes.

Recently new flood maps are being prepared and will become available for the whole country in the near future
based on statistical analysis. In many cases hydraulic modelling is used to determine the flood extent, flood depth
and the propagation time of inundation. The processing of new flood maps for Hungary is still in progress. In the
future many other types of flood maps will be available, among which flood risk and flood damage maps.
Examples of new flood maps for Hungary are shown in Figure 4.61 (extension of inundation), Figure 4.62 (flood
depth) and Figure 4.63 (propagation of inundation).

Atlas of Flood Maps 86


Figure 4.61 Bereg flood area, River Tisza right bank, highest elevations of inundation (masl Baltic)

Figure 4.62 Bereg flood area, River Tisza right bank, flood depth (m)

87 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.63 Bereg flood area, River Tisza right bank, propagation of inundation (hours)

Atlas of Flood Maps 88


4.10 Ireland

In the past flood mapping in Ireland has focused on mapping of flood extents for various event probabilities
(return periods) only in high-risk areas. This practice has recently been expanded to include the mapping of flood
velocities and depths (See Figure 4.64) based on 2-Dimensional hydraulic modelling and high-resolution digital
terrain models.

Figure 4.64 Flood depth map – 1% Annual probability event

A national flood mapping programme has been initiated to provide greater spatial coverage of flood maps,
principally for planning and development management and flood risk management planning. Phase I of this
programme has recently been completed, with the development of a web-based information management
system, and its population with collated and verified historic flood data (www.floodmaps.ie, see Figure 4.65).
Before the user can enter the internet site, a disclaimer has to be acknowledged:

Introduction
The Office of Public Works (OPW) is the leading state agency in relation to flood-related matters in the
Republic of Ireland. The information in relation to past flood events that is displayed on this Web site is
collected by OPW from Local Authorities, other state bodies and members of the general public. The
information is then put through a rigorous verification process in order to provide the maximum degree of
confidence in its accuracy. However, due to the type and character of the information involved there are a
number of issues and considerations that users should take account of in relation to the Content and the Use
of the Web site.

The user can search on the name of a location or zoom in on the map and interactively choose a location. For each
location for which specific information is available a clickable indication in the form of yellow triangle is shown on
the map. As is shown in Figure 4.65 for each location the available information on historic floods is given, which
can be accessed directly on-line, also reports on the event. There is also a complete glossary on the technical
words and an extendable legend.

89 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.65 Website view, indicating historic flood extents and reported flood incidents

In addition to historic flood extent and incident locations, the website also makes available to the user information
such as photographs (see Figure 4.66), reports, hydrometric data and other supporting information.

Figure 4.66 Website view, available photographs of historic flood events

Predictive flood maps currently under development through the flood mapping programme will also be made
available via the website. The foreseen format of the flood extent maps is provided in Figure 4.67. It might be
noted that the line type varies for different reaches of each of the flood envelopes to indicate a high, medium or
low level of confidence (indicator of uncertainty) associated with the flood extent. A table of flood levels (above
datum) is also provided for nodes along the river channel.

Atlas of Flood Maps 90


Figure 4.67 Predictive flood extent mapping format, with indicator of uncertainty and table of flood levels
(Note: Map is provided only as example of map format)

Comments on the maps


At present Ireland has one of the most sophisticated interactive internet sites to access information and maps on
historic flood events. The combination of both documents, photos and maps makes it very easy for the user to get
a complete picture of the situation.
For flood extent maps at present only maps for high-risk areas are available, which though are easy to read with a
well-chosen range of colours for the various levels of risks. For the whole of Ireland, the work on flood mapping is
still in progress, but the example provided shows that these maps are also easy to read and the use of colours
intuitive.

91 Atlas of Flood Maps


4.11 Italy

For Italy a number of flood-related maps have been made available. However, no information has been provided
on the mapping programme, mapping authorities or any other background information.

Figure 4.68 Flood extension and risk map in Italy (location Rieti)

On the flood extension map (Figure 4.68) both the flood extension is shown (for 3 return periods: 1/50, 1/200
and 1/500 yr) and three levels of risk (R2, R3 and R4). This risk factor R is defined on the basis of two parameters:
sensitivity and probability. One of these two factors (probability) is already shown on the same map (inverse of the
return period) and the risk factor is obtained by overlying this information with land use and urban planning. The
latter is remarkable, because it implies that future urban layout is taken into account. In total there are four levels
of risk (R1 – R4). Risk area R1 is characterized by a low sensitivity, because its specific use implies a low probability
of human loss or because it falls within areas characterized by high return periods. The level of risk increases from
R4 to R2:
• R4: Return period of 1/50 yr and high level of sensitivity
• R3: Return period of 1/50 – 1/200 yr and high level of sensitivity
• R2: Return period of 1/200 – 1/500 yr and high level of sensitivity

The process of derivation of risk areas is shown in Figure 4.69 - Figure 4.71 for the river Tevere with a total
population of about 4.3 million persons. The Tevere river passes through the city of Rome towards the
Mediterranean Sea and as such is a very relevant example of flood mapping in an urban area.

On Figure 4.69 the vulnerability / sensitivity is indicated of exposed assets (i.e. types of buildings, sport facilities,
waste dumping areas, power plants, etc.). In the vulnerability maps, red indicates the most vulnerable locations,
which is logical. However, green indicating the least vulnerable locations might suggest that these areas are safe,
which is misleading.

93 Atlas of Flood Maps


On Figure 4.70 the flood extension for the three return periods is shown. Use is made of colours that are normally
associated with a danger level, e.g. red is used for the flood with the highest probability (1/50 years) that can be
expected to have the highest water depths and flow velocities.

On Figure 4.71 the combination of the two former maps into a flood hazard map is shown. Use is made of the
colour red again for the highest flood hazard.

Figure 4.69 Vulnerability of exposed assets in the river valley of the Tevere

Figure 4.70 Flood extension map for 3 return periods (1/50, 1/200 and 1/ 500 years)

Atlas of Flood Maps 94


Figure 4.71 Hazard map (combination of vulnerability and flood extension maps) for 3 return periods

Comments on the maps


The maps for Italy give one of the scarce examples of flood risk maps (probability versus consequences). The
method is easy to understand, but the use of the same colour (e.g. red) for high vulnerability and high probability
might cause some confusion.
In addition, the use of green for areas of low probability c.q. vulnerability may lead to the misleading conclusion
that those areas are safe, while this is not the case.

95 Atlas of Flood Maps


7 Evacuation maps
7.1 Germany – Hamburg

For the city of Hamburg, detailed information is available on the internet on the activities that are being
implemented for the purpose of flood protection. Maps are available for several parts of the city on flood hazard
and the evacuation routes. On Figure 7.1 a detailed map is shown of part of the city (Wilhelmsburg) with an
indication of the evacuation zones corresponding to different water levels (6.5m and 7.5m), the location of
evacuation locations (‘Fluchtburgen’, indicated with ‘F1….8’), emergency residences (‘Notunterkünfte’, indicated
with ‘N1…4’) and busstops (‘H’) from where evacuation busses will depart. The maps are accompanied by an
extensive description of the expected situation in case of flooding and detailed advice to the general public how to
act in such circumstances.

This is a good example of a well-planned information package for urban population in a very large city. The
information is well-presented and easily accessible, although the files themselves may prove large for slow-speed
internet connections.

Figure 7.1 Part of the map with flood protection and evacuation zones of the city of Hamburg with (German) legend

53 http://fhh.hamburg.de/stadt/Aktuell/behoerden/stadtentwicklung-umwelt/bauen-wohnen/hochwasserschutz/start.html

54 http://fhh.hamburg.de/stadt/Aktuell/behoerden/inneres/katastrophenschutz/service/merkblaetter/start.html

179 Atlas of Flood Maps


7.2 Japan

In Japan municipalities are obliged to inform their inhabitants on the flood risk conform the Flood Fighting Act,
established in 2001. Since 2005 the municipalities are also obliged to take a pro-active attitude by distributing
flood risk and inundation maps freely among the inhabitants in order to increase the flood-preparedness and, as a
secondary goal, to contribute to the spatial planning within the municipality. The flood maps are prepared in two
steps:
1. the Ministery of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the prefecture (for resp. nationwide and regionally
adminstred river basins) determine the flood-prone areas;
2. the municipalities produce the Flood Hazard Maps.

The flood maps are produced following a nationwide standard that is determined by the Ministry, which e.g.
establishes the inundation depth classes (0 – 50, 50 – 100, 100 – 200, 200 – 500 & > 500 cm) and the
corresponding colour codes. The choice of those depth classes is based on ‘human characteristics’:
• 0 – 50 cm: most houses will stay dry and it is still possible to walk through the water;
• 50 – 100 cm: there will be at least 50 cm of water on the ground floor and electricity will have failed by now;
• 100 – 200 cm: the ground floor of the houses will be flooded and the inhabitants have either to move to the
first floor or evacuate;
• 200 – 500 cm: both the first floor and often also the roof will be covered by water. Consequently evacuation is
the logic choice of action now. The same applies, evidently, for the depth class > 500 cm.

Similar to the situation in e.g. the Netherlands, the flood inundation maps are based on hydrodynamic calculations
for several scenarios of possible locations of dike failure. The final map is based on the scenario that would cause
the maximum number of victims, i.e. a worst case approach. The return period of the flood that is shown on the
maps depends on the region as a function of potential damage.
Once such maps have been made on municipal level, the municipality adds local information that is relevant for
evacuation, such as the location of shelters, important buildings, evacuation routes, etc., as well as information on
the items that should be taken along during an evacuation. On some maps space is left for the user to draw a
personal evacuation route map based on the particular situation of the person or family.
All the maps are distributed free of charge to the public on scales of 1:5.000 to 1:10.000, and in some cases they
can be downloaded from the internet. It is the task of the municipality to keep the maps up to date.

Examples of flood maps that are available to the public are shown in Figure 7.2 for the city of Toshima, using the
depth inundation classes mentioned above. As in most cases the legend is only given in Japanese, although in
some cases an English legend is provided. Further information on the preparation of the map is given on the
internet55. On this site all relevant information is given necessary for evacuation in case of flooding, including the
addresses of the shelters.

Other examples are shown in Figure 7.3 and Figure 7.4. Especially the latter gives indications of shelters,
temporary shelters (which probably have fewer resources for a long duration stay), boundaries of evacuation
areas, the location of flood warning speakers and, contrary to general custom, an indication of roads that should
NOT be used for evacuation. The map also provides expected flood depths, although no indication is given to
which return period this applies, and the limits of a recent historical flood. Although this map has some interesting
features that are hardly ever found in other evacuation-type maps (like the earlier mentioned location of ‘flood
warning speakers’), the topographical layout on the scale presented is not sufficiently clear to be used in practical
situations. It may be used, though, for preparation purposes as a training for flood situations. Further information
can be found on the internet56.

55 http://www.city.toshima.tokyo.jp/english/bousai/hazardmap/index.html

56 http://www.icharm.pwri.go.jp/html/docu/jan_20_22_2004_ws/pdf_output/hiroki.pdf

Atlas of Flood Maps 180


Figure 7.2 Part of flood depth map for the city of Toshima in Japan

181 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.3 Evacuation map for the Japanese city of Sukagawa

Figure 7.4 Example of a flood hazard map with indications of evacuation roads

Atlas of Flood Maps 182


7.3 Netherlands

An example of an evacuation map in the Netherlands is shown in Figure 7.5 for polders along the Rhine river near
Germany. This maps shows clearly the mandatory evacuation routes, including indication of one-way converted
roads, closed entrances and exits, and are a easy to interpret by the general public.

In Figure 7.6 the simulation of the expected flood extension for the region of “Land van Maas en Waal” (see also
Chapter 4.14) is translated into a decision-support map that shows the areas that will either remain dry, reach a
water level that leaves the first flood of dwellings dry and those areas that will reach such water depths that
evacuation will be required. In order to take decisions on the best evacuation routes, a map is produced that
shows the time of arrival of the inundation front with a depth of 50 cm at the various types of infrastructure
(especially roads, see Figure 7.7). Depending on the decision up till which depth roads or other escape routes are
still safe to use, maps with the arrival time of dfferent inundation depths can be produced.

Figure 7.5 Example of an evacuation map for the Netherlands with indication of obstructions and lane direction and closed entrances and
exits

183 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.6 Basis for decision making on evacuation (expected inundation depth)

Figure 7.7 Time of arrival of the inundation front of 50 cm depth at infrastructure (roads/elevated areas)

Atlas of Flood Maps 184


7.4 USA

7.4.1 Mississippi
Similar to the comments made on insurance maps, there are a number of very interesting examples of evacuation
maps that can be used as examples for the development of evacuation maps in Europe. In the USA the evacuation
routes are published both by state and central on a clickable map of the entire country57.
In the maps from the USA reference is often made to the ‘contraflow’ principle, i.e. the reversing of the normal
traffic flow direction to change an ordinary two-direction road into a one-direction (evacuation) road to increase
its capacity. Special maps are prepared for such occasions that are referred to as ‘contraflow maps’. An example is
given in Figure 7.8 for a part of the State of Mississippi58 and a detailed map of a road crossing prepared by the
Mississippi Department of Transport is shown in Figure 7.959.

Figure 7.8 Hurricane evacuation routes in Mississippi state with indication of ‘contraflow’ roads

57 http://www.ibiblio.org/rcip/evacuationroutes.html#sbs

58 http://www.gomdot.com/cetrp/hurricane_evac_routes.pdf

59 http://www.gomdot.com/cetrp/hurricane_evac_routes.pdf

185 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.9 Example of detailed maps prepared for road crossings in case of ‘contraflow’ situations

7.4.2 Florida
The State of Florida produces a number of very clear and attractive evacuation maps. An example is shown in
Figure 7.10. This evacuation map is accompanied by a text with an indication of the ‘best’ evacuation route for
each of the villages in the region. The colours refer to expected hurricane / storm surge force (category 1 – 5)

Figure 7.10 Evacuation map for a part of Florida60

60 http://www.firstcoastnews.com/weather/stormtrack/evacuation_map.aspx

Atlas of Flood Maps 186


7.4.3 Louisiana – New Orleans
Evidently after the impact of the hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has become a focus of attention in terms of flood
prevention. Detailed evacuation maps are available for the all of the state of Louisiana (see e.g. Figure 7.11)61,
with for each road crossing a special map that indicates the contraflow plan and detailed instructions for the
evacuation by car (Figure 7.12).

Figure 7.11 Part of an evacuation map for Southwest Louisiana

61 http://www.dotd.state.la.us/maps/

187 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.12 Detail of contraflow at a road crossing (reference to map on Figure 7.11) and detailed instructions

Another example of an evacuation map for the city of New Orleans, including a phased evacuation plan, is given
in Figure 7.13. Very detailed instructions are available in case of a hurricane threat, with emergency shelter
information points, agency contact information, radio frequencies, a guide on how to make a ‘family
communication plan’ and even a chapter on ‘preparing your pets’.

Figure 7.13 Part of evacuation map of area of New Orleans with phased evacuation plan

Atlas of Flood Maps 188


7.4.4 California – Sacramento
A very interesting example of a combination of a flood depth map and a combined rescue / evacuation map is
available for the County of Sacramento in California, including the city of Sacramento itself. Various detailed maps
showing hypothetical levee breaks, inundation levels and the time it would take for waters to rise in affected
neighbourhoods, and rescue and evacuation zones have been made available on the internet62. For a specific
failure location two types of maps can be downloaded:
• Flood Depth Maps: show where the water would flow over time and how deep it would get given the
hypothetical flooding scenario.
• Rescue and Evacuation Route Maps: show rescue areas, evacuation areas, and potential evacuation routes.
− Rescue areas, in red, indicate places where water has the potential to reach a depth of at least one foot after
two hours from the time of a levee failure. People would not be able to drive out and likely would be
stranded and require rescue.
− Evacuation areas, in yellow, indicate places, depending on where the levee breech occurs, that could fill from
1 to 26 feet of water within 10 days, giving most people time to get out safely. Flood depth details are
specified on each map.
− This map also portrays potential evacuation routes (in green) and which evacuation routes would become
inundated over time.

A total of 18 sets of maps are available. Examples of both types of maps, with the corresponding legends, for the
American – River Arden region, are shown in Figure 7.14 and Figure 7.15.

Detailed maps are also available for some of the other States in the USA, especially New Jersey63 and South
Caroline64, but provide no extra information compared to the maps already shown in this Chapter.

62 http://www.msa.saccounty.net/waterresources/floodready/?page=maps

63 http://www.nj.gov/njoem/plan/evacuation-routes.html

64 http://www.dot.state.sc.us/getting/evacuation.shtml

189 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.14 Flood depth map of the county of Sacramento, with indication of location of hypothetical levee failure
and inundation process in time
191 Atlas of Flood Maps
Figure 7.15 Rescue and evacuation route map of the county of Sacramento, with indication of location of
hypothetical levee failure and passable routes in time
193 Atlas of Flood Maps
4.12 Latvia

Latvia doesn’t yet have a well established flood mapping system, partly because there was no urgent need for
such mapping for the whole of Latvia or separate river basins. For historical events maps are available as hard
copies. Many maps are produced on special request e.g. for a municipality.

In Latvia there is no great flooding as in most of other European countries where larger rivers are present.
However, some flood mapping efforts are made mostly if there are requests from municipalities. Calculations are
made for some territories for 1/100 yr (1% probability) and sometimes other frequencies (5%, 10%, 20% or 50%
probability etc.), depending on request.

For the examples of flood maps in Latvia two maps are available. The map in Figure 4.72 shows the expected
flood extent for an event with a return period of 1/100 yr for the city of Jekabpils, which lies along the Daugava
river, which is the most important river in Latvia. Most floods in the city of Jekabpils occur in spring due to ice-
jams.

The map in Figure 4.73 shows the flood extension for the city of Lubana on the Aiviekste river, a tributary of the
Daugava river, also for a return period of 100 years. This is an example of a map that was especially produced for
a municipality, who requested also to have land use on the same map.

Both maps where made in Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Agency (LEGMA) in year 2006. It
should be remarked that the layout of both maps map is rather clear and easy to read.

Figure 4.72 Flood extension map for the city of Jekabpils in Latvia on the Daugava river

97 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.73 Flooded area (diagonal blue lines) for the city of Lubana for a return period of 100 years

Atlas of Flood Maps 98


4.14 Netherlands

The Netherlands is flood prone for about 60% of its surface. 95 so-called dike-rings protect the polders from being
flooded from the North Sea, rivers or lakes. The protection level has a legal status, expressed in the following
exceedance frequencies per year: 1/10.000 along the central section of the North Sea coast, 1/1250 along the
main rivers, 1/2000 and 1/4000 in the intermediate estuaries, lake IJssel and Wadden Sea. Flooding of these dike
rings may occur as a result of the failure (or overtopping) of embankments or other defence works (sluices, storm
surge barriers). Under these conditions a relatively large area may be flooded in a couple of days. The extent,
progress and final flooding depth (and hence potential damage and affected inhabitants) depend on the location
and process of the failure, hydraulic boundary conditions and terrain characteristics. This can be simulated by 2-D
model computations. Only relatively small, unprotected areas outside these dike-rings experience the natural
dynamics of rising waters due to the tide, storm-surges or river floods. Along the river Meuse isolated villages have
minor embankments with a protection level of 1/250.
Official flood (extent) maps in the Netherlands are available for public and official use on Internet
(www.risicokaart.nl, access on provincial level). These maps show flood prone areas, as defined by more than 1
meter flooding depth with a frequency larger than 1/4000 per year. Figure 4.76 shows an example for the
province of Gelderland. Many types of disasters are shown on this site, including accidents in tunnels, traffic, forest
fires, earthquakes etc. To show maps related to floods (the light blue horizontal hatching), the other options can
simply be turned off.
In addition to these official maps many types of flood maps exist for study and disaster management purposes. As
a result of these studies a new generation of flood maps will become available on the provincial Internet-sites the
coming years. Anticipating the EU Flood Risk Management Directive these maps will distinguish between flood
extent, depth and probability, flood progress (and rate of rise), dangerous current velocities, potential damage and
affected inhabitants, flood risk (probability x adverse effects) and finally information for evacuation.

Figure 4.76 Interactive flood risk map of a part of the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands

101 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.77 shows, for the Netherlands as a whole, the maximum depth of flooding for any location that may
occur due to embankment overtopping without any reference to return period. As such it does not represent a real
situation, but the worst case for every location.

Figure 4.78 and Figure 4.79 show examples of depth and potential damage for a specific event: a flood caused by
failure of the coastal dunes between The Hague and Rotterdam by a specified North Sea storm surge. Increasing
flood depth (and damage) is visualized by increasing intensities of blue (and red). Maximum flood depth and
damage not necessarily coincide. Of course damage only occurs where flooding occurs, but the amount of
damage is much more determined by socio-economic value of a specific location than the expected depth of
inundation.

Figure 4.80 shows the travel time of the flooding process. This is important information for the preparation of
evacuation plans by disaster management organizations.

Figure 4.81 is an interesting example, as it shows flood depth classes related to the height of a human body (dark
blue: ankle-deep, light blue: knee-deep, light rose: hip-deep, orange: head-deep, red: submerged).

Atlas of Flood Maps 102


Figure 4.77 Flood depth after inundation in the Netherlands at any location

103 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.78 Example of maximum flood inundation depth caused by sea flooding in the Netherlands

Atlas of Flood Maps 104


Figure 4.79 Potential flood damage resulting from flood depth and land use

105 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.80 Map showing the progress of an inundation front from dike failure at the coast of the Netherlands

Atlas of Flood Maps 106


Figure 4.81 Flood hazard map with indication of expected water depth with ‘human’ terminology

Another example of the information that can be obtained from series of simulations of the inundation process is
shown for the region of ‘Land of Maas en Waal’ in the Netherlands in Figure 4.82 (time of arrival of front of
inundation with a depth of 50 cm) and the rate of rise of the water (Figure 4.83). The rate of rise has a major
impact on the number of casualties, especially for inundation depths between 0 – 1.5 m. The highest values of the
rate of rise occur evidently close to the locations of dike failure (green dot). A combination of such a map with a
map of population density and expected inundation depth can be used to derive an image of the potential number
of casualties in an area vulnerable to floods.

107 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.82 Inundation front arrival time for depth of 50 cm

Figure 4.83 Example of a map showing rate of rise of the water (m/hour)

Atlas of Flood Maps 108


4.15 Norway

The map shown in Figure 4.84 is part of a program that was started after Norway suffered from a major flood
event in 1995 which caused extensive damage (approx. 225 million Euro). An extensive flood zone mapping
project was governmentally launched after this event. After a pre-study a total number of 134 sites were selected
for detailed flood zone mapping. These are the most flood prone and most densely populated areas of Norway.
The program ends in 2007, and then all the 134 flood zone maps will be finalized. The maps are published on the
internet and paper copies are also available together with the report. These are handed over to the local
authorities. The maps are important premises to local land use planning. The local land use planners are bound by
the maps from a legal point of view. The project has awakened the local authorities and new sites will be mapped
in the years to come in a following up project. More information on the flood mapping procedures in Norway is
given in a document on the internet (“Procedures And Guidelines For Flood Inundation Maps In Norway”21).

Comments on the map


The example of the flood zone map for Norway is an interesting combination of a map sheet with additional
information. In the subtitle to the map it is clearly stated to which return period the map refers (here 1/100 yr) and
the legend is very clear. On the map sheet there is not only information on the flood extension, but also on the
vulnerability of the buildings in the region, e.g. “Buildings with potential damage to basement”. Detailed
information is provided on technical details of the map, date of the flood calculations, name of the corresponding
report, etc. In separate windows extra information is given on expected water levels at a cross section for other
return periods (1/20 – 1/500 yr) and the water profiles along the length of the river axis. There is a very clear
indication of the location of the detailed map and the North of the map is also indicated. Although much of the
information is provided on this map, most of it is probably only useful to a flood expert. In general, though, it is
probably one of the clearest flood map layouts at present available.

21 http://wwf.pl/powodz/publikacje/hoydalflood.pdf

109 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.84 Flood zone map from Norway
111 Atlas of Flood Maps
4.16 Poland

For Poland both ‘traditional’ flood maps are available as well as interactively produced maps using Google Earth as
background.

“Traditional” flood maps

Figure 4.85 Flood extension map in Poland

Explanation of the legend:


Strefa zalewów o prawdopodobieństwie przewyszenia p = 1% - flood zone with the exceedence probability p=1%
Istniejace wały powodziowe – existing levees

113 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.86 Flood extension and depth map at Wroclaw for Motorway A1 Study

Comment on the maps


The flood extension map in Figure 4.85 is easy to read and as it provides only the expected flood extension for
one event the information is straightforward. In Figure 4.86 both flood extension and depth are given, without
compromising the readability of the map.

The flood extension map shown in Figure 4.87 is very detailed, but the aim to show expected flood extension for
seven return periods in the same map leads to an image in which it is not easy to distinguish the various lines that
show the borders of the flood extension for each return period. It may be interesting to use coloured surfaces
instead of lines, showing the increment in inundated area for each subsequent return period.

Atlas of Flood Maps 114


Figure 4.87 Flood extension map for various return periods
Explanation of legend:

Granice zalewów o prawdopodobiezstwie przewy szenia


p = 0,2% …50%
- flood zone boundaries with the exceedence probability
p = 0,2% … 50%

Obszary bezodpływowe – non - runoff areas

Obszary osuwiskowe – landslide areas

Erozja brzegowa – bank erosion

Powiaty – counties

Gminy – communities

Rzeki – rivers

Wały przeciwpowodziowe – levees

Budo wle pietrzace (jazy, zapory)


– hydrotechnical structures (weirs, dams)

Przekroje poprzeczne – cross-sections

Zlewnia 1 .. Iv rzedu – 1st . .. 4th grade catchment

Kilometraz rzeki – river mileage

Sterunki wodowskazowye– gauging stations

Posterunki meteorologiczne – meteorological stations

Mosty – bridges

Sluzy wałowe – embankments sluices

Zbiorniki retencyjne, poldery – reservoirs, polders

115 Atlas of Flood Maps


Google Earth based flood maps

Figure 4.88 Flood extension map using Google Earth

Figure 4.89 Detail of flood extension map with Google Earth

117 Atlas of Flood Maps


Comments on the maps
The use of Google Earth as a basis for mapping purposes is becoming more usual, e.g. in showing weather radar
and many other spatial phenomena. An excellent example is now available from Poland. On Figure 4.88 and
Figure 4.89 flood maps are placed on top of the photo-images of Google Earth. The procedure to transfer GIS-
based flood maps to Google Earth is rather straightforward and the resulting ‘*.kmz’ files can be read immediately
by Google Earth, who places the flood map information exactly upon the right location. In general this way of
presentation is very good to provide information to the non-specialist, because it is easy to operate and a lot of
extra information can be made available by using links to other internet sites. In the document accompanying the
Google Earth images the following advantages and disadvantages are mentioned:

Advantages:
• Attractive image
• Easy to operate, similar to net browsing
• Large amount of information possible, especially when using www sites links
• Easy and fast to convert data from existing ArcGIS geodatabase
Disadvantages:
• A fast computer with Windows XP is required
• A fast internet connection is required
• Data presented in *.kmz file is given free of charge to the user, who can download the kmz.* file to the local
hard disk, so it not possible to use it for restricted data
• It is possible to edit *.kmz data, but there is no connection with the geodatabase and the changes will not
appear in it
• If many *.kmz files are placed in the ‘favourites locations’ map, Google Earth will operate slowly.

In addition it should be mentioned that there exists the risk that people will zoom in towards their own house /
property and consider the flood information provided at this level as reliable, which may not be the case (see
Chapter 3.2).

There is another possible disadvantage that might be less evident with Google Earth recently released and still in
development is the continuity of this service. This has been explained already in Chapter 3 on the cartographic
aspects of flood mapping.

Atlas of Flood Maps 118


4.17 Spain

Catalonia
In Spain, inundation studies are the responsibility of the respective Hydrographic Confederations of each river
basin (River Basin Authorities). The actual status of inundation studies varies from basin to basin with significant
differences in the level of achievement.

A good example of inundation studies is the one corresponding to river basins in Catalonia, where the
Government of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya) through the Catalan water Agency has elaborated a
inundation management plan, Inuncat22, where all the inundation areas corresponding to rivers in Catalonia have
already been produced.

The Catalonian Water Agency (Government of Catalonia) has evaluated for the river basins of Catalonia
inundation maps for the main river courses (Delimitació de zones inundables a les conques internes de Catalunya)
as well as for the Ebro river (Delimitació de zones inundables a les conques de l'Ebro) which has a basin shared
with other regions. These studies define the inundation areas for return periods of 1/50, 1/100 and 1/500 yr23
and, also delineate potential flood areas from the geomorphological standpoint. In addition to this, the study also
includes a database with critical points, which are defined as locations where the experience acquired during many
years of river management has shown that they present repeating problems24.

The inundation maps for return periods of 1/50, 1/100 and 1/500 yr (Figure 4.90) are interactively available in
PDF format. In the example shown here, corresponding to the Besós river (the Northern natural border of the city
of Barcelona) only a part of the total map is shown and the legend has been placed on top in order to show only
the most relevant information.

In Figure 4.91 an example is shown a flood hazard map for the Besós river basin at the northern part of the city of
Barcelona, with a part of the legend shown above. These maps are also available as PDF files directly from the
internet25. Also in this case this is only a part of the total map; the original full sheet includes information on the
map and a clear indication of the location of the map area within the total province of Catalonia. In this case, there
is no indication of the return period that is represented in the map, because they delineate potential flood areas
from the geomorphological standpoint using historical information (areas already subjected to floods) or geologic
evidences. Use is made of signs in green, orange and red to indicate level of low, medium and high risk (see
legend).

22 http://mediambient.gencat.net/aca/ca//planificacio/inundabilitat/inici.jsp

23 http://mediambient.gencat.net/aca/ca/planificacio/inundabilitat/delimitacio/pl_periode.jsp

24 http://mediambient.gencat.net/aca/documents/ca/planificacio/inuncat/conquesinternes/punts_critics.pdf

25 http://mediambient.gencat.net/aca/ca/planificacio/inundabilitat/delimitacio/pl_potencial.jsp

119 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.90 Flood extension maps for the Besós river basin (N of Barcelona) for 3 return periods

Atlas of Flood Maps 120


Figure 4.91 Flood hazard map for Besós river basin (N of Barcelona) for 3 return periods

Comment on the maps


The layout of these maps is very clear and it is also relatively easy to distinguish between the three return periods.
From the maps it is clear though that emphasis is placed on the presentation of the flood extension for a return
period of 1/50 yr, which is shown both with a bordering line as well as with a hatched surface. The use of red for
the lowest return period (1/50 yr) is chosen not to indicate the highest danger, but the highest risk of occurrence
(i.e. the highest probability).

In Figure 4.92 a full flood hazard map is shown of a part of the Spanish coast in order to show the general outline
of such a map, which when printed on a larger scale result very clear and easy to read.

121 Atlas of Flood Maps


Obrir el Pànol de delimitació hidràulica

Figure 4.92 Full image of a flood hazard map in Catalonia


English translation of legends

Type/level of hazard Level of affectation


Low effects on an area
Medium effects on a stretch
High Critical point / hot
spot (e.g. bridge)
effects on large areas

Description code
AA: river or creek
BB: municipality
NN: number of order of hazard

From top to down:


Legend Geomorphology Symbols
Flood hazard area
Embankment area
Limit of historical flood area
Mark of recent movements
Active cone of dejection = floodable
Possible flow direction or water flow
Flow deviation due to existing anthropogenic
actions
Flood retaining wall
Mark of alluvial erosion / old meanders
Former lagoon/ dried deltaic lagoon or wetland

123 Atlas of Flood Maps


Northern Spain

In the Spanish northern basin, 38 384 km2 of total area, 2 900 129 inhabitants use intensively the scarce plain
surfaces, mostly associated to floodplains. The geographic and geological characteristics of the Cantabrian Range
provide an environment where rivers typically have high gradients with straight, short and incised channels, and its
discharges are high in amount, velocity, erosive power and load of sediments. Another important characteristic is
the quick response of these rivers after rainfall.
An approach to river activity in its floodplain can be obtained by geomorphic evidences studied by the
Geomorphology as the science of landscape forms. As a result, the floodplain is divided in different terrace levels
associated to different flood frequency, mostly restricted by steep banks and cliffs, and also defined by the floods
historic analysis. This method, based in real evidences caused by floods, is especially useful in fluvial systems where
rivers are confined within high valley walls and where the floodplain external limit is highly abrupt.

The first step is to define the study area by delineating the alluvial plain limits and the channel course with
topographic criteria and helped by aerial photos. An analysis of a series of historic photographs could help to
understand the river behaviour during the recent past. It is necessary to take note of fluvial system properties as
channel width, margin height, steep or gradual margins, granulometric measures, etc. Furthermore, the main point
is to map the geomorphic elements of the alluvial landscape that are mentioned later. GIS software is an essential
tool because it allows to map and store all the information for its representation in flood maps or to be used later,
for example, in emergency plans.

Historical information of flood events has been obtained from documentary sources and field interviews with local
residents. The former allow the identification of the main locations with flood problems, the latter provide more
accurate data about the extent and characteristics of the events. In bibliographical literature and newspapers an
inventory of sites historically affected by floods was collected for the time period 1522-2007 in an intensive
revision of nearly 7300 newspapers. The low precision of the historic floods data obtained in the previous
compilation forced to realize 2000 field interviews to local residents distributed in 340 km2 of floodplains. Dates,
extent, damage (agriculture, buildings, roads links, etc.), water depth, grain size and sedimentation areas and
overflow zones were recorded. All this information was stored in a database, including photographs and videos of
some floods and data of gauged flow and rainfall of every event when the information is available.

125 Atlas of Flood Maps


Information obtained from documentary sources (1 and 3) and field work
(2 and 4).

Example of event map in a section of the Arnoia river (Galicia, NW Spain)

Atlas of Flood Maps 126


Geomorphological evidences of floods are erosive or depositional landforms or other indicators of fluvial activity:
• Channel course as a sign of the different fluvial energy among straight, meandering or braided rivers.
• Steep banks or cliffs: linked to the main channel, to secondary channels or isolated in the floodplain.
• Overflow point within we can think about water course throw the floodplain.
• Recent deposits (characterization): levees, crevasse splays (granulometric fractions help to understand the flood
energy).
• Microtopographies are identified as an irregular topography in the floodplain, at different scales, as a result of
the combination of erosive and deposited forms (negative and positive forms).

Natural narrowings or river confluences create important local variations of the fluvial energy.

Evidences of different floods frequency: 1 and 2 flood deposits, 3 microtopographt, 4 crevasse and overflow point and 5 steep bank defined by a
cliff.

The hydrological behaviour of rivers can be altered by different anthropic elements which have to be identified
and described: human-made conflictive points, canalizations, reservoirs, others.

All field parameters are analysed by searching overflow points and its relationship with the observed geomorphic
evidences. Also, zones with different fluvial activity, based on the geomorphic analysis, are linked to an
approximate return period by comparison of event properties obtained from the historic analysis (surface occupied,
speed, swept sediments, overflow points, etc.). A good practice is to carry out a regional analysis in order to check
if the followed criteria were homogeneous in the entire basin and also to compare present floods.

127 Atlas of Flood Maps


Finally, all the information is used to distinguish different units represented in the flood map:

Low Terrace: it is the most active floodplain terrace flooded at least once every 10 years so it is plentifully of
geomorphic evidences.

Middle Terrace: higher than the low terrace, it is associated to a flood frequency of once every 50 years.

High Terrace and Very High Terrace: with a flood frequency of once every one hundred years and five hundred
years respectively. They are short of geomorphic evidences and human activity is highly intense.

Example of a floodplain zonification in a section of the Narcea river (Asturias, NW Spain) with fluvial and torrent floods.

Other floods can be mapped as Tidal influence, mountain torrents an also drainage deficiency caused by artificial
elements in the floodplain.

River flood risk determination has been carried out combining flood hazards mapping and land use vulnerability.
Additionally, the risk map provides supplementary information about mountain torrent hazard, tide dynamics and
drainage deficiencies, and also it includes an inventory of assets at risk in the analyzed river sections.
Vulnerability maps show different classes established regarding land use and a combined indicator which takes into
account material loss (direct and indirect economic vulnerability, VED and VEI), loss of life (population vulnerability,
VP) and the reaction capacity decrease and services provision interruption (community vulnerability, VC), plus the
possible damage of Cultural Monuments protected by the regional government.
Vulnerability and flood mapping are combined in a GIS in order to obtain different categories of flood risk: very
low, low, medium, high and very high, which are displayed in a 1:5.000 scale topographic map.

Atlas of Flood Maps 128


Flood hazards (left) and Land-use (right) maps of the Caudal river floodplain through the city of Mieres (Asturias, NW Spain)

129 Atlas of Flood Maps


Vulnerability map of the Caudal river floodplain through the city of Mieres (Asturias, NW Spain) used in the risk estimation.

Flood risk map of the Caudal river floddplain through the city of Mieres (Asturias, NW Spain)

Atlas of Flood Maps 130


4.18 Sweden

Swedish risk management programs are lead at local level. Sweden has chosen the “bottom up” approach to
make sure that all risks are addressed on the basis of the resources that are available. Risk assessment has to be
dealt with locally due to the fact that accident and hazards occur locally - every accident/hazard has a geographic
position but the effects of the accident/hazard may be of local, regional, national or international character.
Therefore, the subsidiary principle is the key factor in Sweden’s risk management policies. The Swedish Civil
Protection Act supports this view.
The Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA) is the government authority tasked to improve safety against
accidents within society. Among other things, the agency works with risk assessment and risk management in
several different sectors, for example, natural disasters.
SRSA mainly supports rescue services and municipalities with knowledge and subsidises preventive measures in the
built up environments that may be at risk of flooding and landslides. The SRSA also has the responsibility, on
commission from the government, for providing the municipalities and county administrative boards with general
planning information such as general stability maps and general flood inundation maps. Flood risk assessment is a
municipal responsibility.

The Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA) is conducting a general mapping of parts of Sweden’s waterways.
The mapping began in 1998 and the goal is to achieve maps of approximately 10,000 km (approx.10%) of
Sweden’s waterways. In January 2007 almost 8 000 km are mapped and 56 of the rivers are covered with Flood
Inundation Maps. 5 new rivers are going to be mapped in 2007.
The general maps are intended for the overall planning of fire & rescue service work and as information for land-
use planning. The flood mapping covers natural floods in both governed and ungoverned waterways, but not
floods that occur, for example, as a result of a dam break or an ice-dam.

The priority is made by a preliminary risk assessment based on risk identification and urbanized areas along the
rivers together with records of occurred flood events in the past.

In Figure 4.93 an overview is given of the rivers for which interactive maps are available now. The maps can be
accessed through a map browser on the internet26, showing the same map as in this figure, by clicking on a
region. This loads the corresponding PDF document. Both the internet site as well as all the texts accompanying
the maps are only available in Swedish.

26 http://www.raddningsverket.se/templates/SRV_ExternalPage___2257.aspx

131 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.93 Flood Inundation Mapping in Sweden

Flood Inundation Maps highlight the areas that are at risk from flooding during two known high water discharges.
Two types of flood are used:
• the 100-year flood
• the highest estimated flood.

The latter is calculated in accordance with the Swedish Flood Committee’s guidelines for the dimensioning of dams
(dams in risk class I). The calculation is made on a systematic combination of all the critical factors (rain, melting of
snow, levels of ground moisture, and the filling of basins in governed waterways) that contribute to a flood. The
calculated return period is approximately 10 000 years.

Map production
Three elements are involved in the production of flood maps:
• Calculation of the two floods. The 100-year flood is calculated by the statistical analysis of observed water flow
measurements. The highest estimated flood is calculated in accordance with the Flood Committee’s guidelines.
In the latter case a hydrological run-off model is programmed with maximum adverse conditions as regards
precipitation, melting of snow and ground moisture conditions, while at the same time giving consideration to
possible waterway governing and dam basin activities.
• Calculation of the water level along waterways during the two floods. This is achieved using a hydraulic model.
The description of the waterway and stretch of river is achieved with the help of dam and bridge diagrams, and

Atlas of Flood Maps 132


looking at the qualities of the waterway and the topography of the surrounding land. The model is calibrated
against previous measurements taken of the water level and flow. After which the water level across sections of
the waterway is calculated.
• Mapping out of flooded areas along stretches of waterway. This mapping out is achieved with the help of a
geographical information system (GIS). The water level along the whole waterway is interpolated and with the
aid of a topographical database and Digital Elevation Model (DEM) the area that will be flooded can be
calculated.

An example of a flood inundation map from Sweden is shown in Figure 4.94.

Legend:

Highest estimated flood


according to the Swedish Flood
Committee

100 year flood

Urban area

Figure 4.94 Example of a Swedish flood inundation map

Fields of applications
The mapping out work is presented partly in a report with printed maps and partly as GIS-layers for further work
by users in the municipalities, county administrative boards etc. The idea is that the overlays shall be connected to
a suitable map (e.g. 1:50,000) that shows where floods can occur and suggests likely problems with roads, railway
lines, bridges and buildings. The map overlays can also be connected to various co-ordinate registers, such as, for
areas sensitive to landslides, property registers detailing numbers of inhabitants, wells, sewage treatment works,
industries, environmentally hazardous operations, warehouses etc. Examples of the combined use of flood hazard
and land use information are shown in Figure 4.9527 and Figure 4.9628. The former shows the flood-affected
roads, while the latter shows the occurrence of quick-clay areas at risk of flooding. These two maps are examples
of dedicated maps that combine flood inundation information with other types of information and therefore the
colour setting of the maps are also completely different.

27 Source: Swedish Rescue Services Agency and County Administrative Board of Västmanland

28 Source: Swedish Rescue Services Agency

133 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.95 180 km of roads at risk of flooding

Figure 4.96 An overlay analysis of the General Stability Map and the General Flood Risk Map

Comment on the maps


In the flood map on Figure 4.94 the expected flood extension is shown for two situations (pink area = area at risk
of 1/100 yr flood, hatched area = area at risk of 1/10,000 yr flood, grey area = area of municipality). The use of
the latter return period is unusual and as expected the corresponding flood extensions are large. The colour pink is
not common for flood extension, but it does stand out very clear in both maps.
In the map of the flood-affected roads (Figure 4.95), it is not clear what is meant with the red lines (flood
extension ?) and the dark-blue double lines, although the latter probably represent those road sections.

Atlas of Flood Maps 134


4.19 Switzerland

In Switzerland several types of flood maps are produced. They include flooding (dynamic and static), debris flow
activity and bank erosion/scouring. Flood indication maps (flood extension maps) are produced on a scale of
1:25,000 for the bigger cantons as shown in Figure 4.97. The maps represent an extreme event (generally set
equal to a return period of 1/1,000 y) to get a quick insight in the most critical areas (by overlaying the vulnerable
elements on the flood areas).

Figure 4.97 Example of a food indication map for an extreme event

Flood hazard maps are produced in a scale of 1:5,000 for return period similar to those used in Austria (1/30,
1/100, 1/300, extreme event; the latter is not available in Austria). By combining the probability and the intensity
(magnitude), the latter expressed as flow velocity or depth, the flood hazard class is obtained as indicated in Figure
4.98.

135 Atlas of Flood Maps


The criteria used for the definition of flood hazard are given in detail in the following table.

Process low intensity medium intensity high intensity

Debris flow -- D<1m D>1m


and and
v < 1 m/s v > 1 m/s
D = thickness of debris front
Static flooding h < 0.5 m 0.5 < h < 2 m h>2m
v = flow velocity (flood or debris flow)
Dynamic flooding q < 0.5 m2/s 0.5 < q < 2 m2/s q > 2 m2/s h = flow depth
q = specific discharge (m3/s/m) = h x v
Bank erosion t < 0.5 m 0.5 < t < 2 m t>2m
t = extent of lateral erosion

Criteria for intensity of different hazards

Figure 4.98 Assessment of flood hazard in Switzerland

In Figure 4.99 an example is shown of a flood hazard map in Switzerland. Note that the processes represented in
this map are debris flows and related phenomena. The meaning of the three colours (including the hatching) is
explained in the text following the figure.

Atlas of Flood Maps 136


Figure 4.99 Flood hazard map in Switzerland based on the hazard levels

RED: high hazard


The red zone mainly designates a prohibition domain (area where development is prohibited).

BLUE: moderate hazard


The blue zone is mainly a regulation domain, in which severe damage can be reduced by means of appropriate
protective measures (area with restrictive regulations).

YELLOW: low hazard


The yellow zone is mainly an alerting domain (area where people are notified at possible hazard).

YELLOW-WHITE HATCHING: residual hazard


Low probability of high intensity event occurrence can be designated by yellow-white hatching. The yellow-
white hatched zone is mainly an alerting domain, highlighting a residual danger.

137 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.100 Flood depth map for a return period of 1/300 yr.
139 Atlas of Flood Maps
Figure 4.101 Map showing the flood hazard zones for the same region as in Figure 4.100
141 Atlas of Flood Maps
The direct interpretation of the hazard classes (red, blue, yellow, yellow-white) constitutes an excellent (legal)
mechanism to directly implement the hazard maps into spatial planning and building regulations. In the red zone,
all new urban development is prohibited, where as in the blue zone restrictive regulations are enforced. In the
yellow zone there are principally no restrictions (except for highly sensitive infrastructure) but the residents are
made aware of the flood hazards.

The basis for the production of hazard maps is the so-called “intensity map”. The intensity (or magnitude) of a
particular process is delineated for each return period. In Figure 4.100 an example of a flood depth map is shown
for an event with a return period of 1/300 y with the flood depth indicated in steps of 0.25 m. Use is made of a
colour ramp from light pale green (0 to 25 cm) slowly intensifying through orange to red for the greatest depth.
In Figure 4.101 the flood hazards using the definition explained above is shown for the same region in
Switzerland.

There are very detailed documents available on the explanation of flood hazards and the use of the hazard zones.
An interesting example is given in Figure 4.102 where the effect is shown of the implementation of flood
mitigation measures (e.g. lowering of river bed, raising of dikes etc.) on the flood hazards.

In Switzerland the flood risk maps are not yet widely distributed. However, a qualitative risk can be depicted by
overlaying the hazard zones with the various land use classes (damage potential). In a first attempt this is done by
just using the topographic information (settlements, housing or industrial estates, transport infrastructure etc.). An
important instrument is the so-called “Map of Safety Deficits” relating flood risks with protection objectives as
shown in Figure 4.103.

143 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.102 Change in hazard level before and after implementation of flood mitigation measures

Atlas of Flood Maps 144


Figure 4.103 Map of safety deficit showing the degree of the lack of protection

Comment on the maps


Switzerland has one of the most complete systems for the delineation of flood hazard and flood risk with and
excellent set of documents in German, French, Italian and English. Concepts, guidelines, and recommendations are
available on the internet (environment-switzerland.ch / Documentation)

145 Atlas of Flood Maps


4.5 Great Britain

4.5.1 England & Wales

General information
In England & Wales the Environment Agency has developed several mapping products to raise awareness of flood
risk and support decision making. Examples of these are shown as Figure 4.24 to Figure 4.28. All are available for
public or professional use; some data is published on the Environment Agency’s internet site4.

The Flood Map is currently the Environment Agency’s main map to raise awareness of flood risk with the public
and our partner organisations, such as land use/spatial planning authorities, emergency planners, emergency
services, developers and drainage authorities. It has been available on the internet since 2004, although an earlier
version was first published on the Internet in 2000. The Flood Map shows:
• Flooding from rivers or the sea without defences – the natural flood plain area that could be affected in the
event of flooding from rivers and the sea.
Two shaded areas are presented, which are aligned with the Flood Zones as defined by land use planning policy
for England:
_ Areas that could be flooded either from rivers with an annual probability of flooding greater than 1% (1 in
100) OR areas that could be flooded from the sea with an annual probability of flooding greater than 0.5%
(1 in 200)
_ Areas other than covered by the above that would be flooded by an extreme flood with an annual
probability of 0.1% (1 in 1000) from rivers and the sea
• The location of flood defences – such as embankments and walls, and flood storage areas
• Areas benefiting from these flood defences in a 1% fluvial flood or 0.5% coastal flood – where possible the
areas that benefit from the flood defences are shown. However, not all areas that benefit from flood defences
are currently shown (Figure 4.24 is an example of this). Figure 4.25 shows how areas benefiting from defences
are shown where the information is available. There is ongoing work to increase the coverage of this
information.

On the internet the Flood Map is presented as a single layer in map form. Users search for their location of interest
through a standard search tool by entering either a post code or a location name. The mapped output shown on
the internet site (default scale 1:20,000) is very similar to Figure 4.24, which has been shown at a scale of about
1:45,000.
The online Flood Map also has the facility to allow users to gain further information by opting to ‘learn more’ by
pointing at a specific location within the map. This leads to data from the National Flood Risk Assessment, a
mapped data set which provides further qualitative information on the probability of flooding taking into account
the location, type and condition of flood defences. This information on the actual (residual) probability of flooding
is presented in three categories used by the insurance industry in the UK, as noted below:
• Significant: the chance of flooding in any year is greater than 1.3% (1 in 75)
• Moderate: the chance of flooding in any year is 1.3% (1 in 75) or less, but greater than 0.5% (1 in 200)
• Low: the chance of flooding in any year is 0.5% (1 in 200) or less

Comments on the maps


A number of examples of mapped flood data are provided for England & Wales. Most relate to the city of Carlisle
in Cumbria to allow direct comparison of outputs, but a further example from Burton upon Trent (Figure 4.25) is
shown to illustrate information not available on the Carlisle maps.

Figure 4.24 and Figure 4.25 both show extracts from the Flood Map. Flood extents ignoring the presence of
defences, as described above, are shown. These extents are shaded in hues of blue, with the area of greater
probability in the darker colour. The map also shows flood defences. Although these do not stand out well at the
scale shown in the Atlas, they are clear on the internet version of the map shown at a scale of 1:20,000. Data on
areas benefiting from defences is not available at all locations, but exists for all defences built since 1998. Further

4 http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/

39 Atlas of Flood Maps


data is added to the Flood Map, as it becomes available, when modelling is updated. The Carlisle maps do not
show the areas that benefit from defences, although this is available for Burton upon Trent. The map layout is
clear, with the topography shown on the background without too much detail. The internet site also provides an
overview map, to orientate the location within the national scale, although this is not shown on the example here.
No ‘North’ indication is deemed necessary – it is customary that ‘North’ is at the top of the map in the UK. The
grid with its coordinate references provides confirmation of this.

Figure 4.26 is a presentation of the assessment of flood probability bands for Carlisle as produced by the National
Flood Risk Assessment. It maps the ‘Low’, ‘Moderate’ and ‘Significant’ flood probability bands as defined above
and takes into account the reduction in probability as a result of flood defences. The underlying information used
to generate the map (the flood probabilities and depths) is also a step in the subsequent assessment of risk when
combined with depth/damage information. This banding is tailored more for commercial concerns as the insurance
industry in the UK has a particular interest in the 1.3% limit. Whilst this data is not available in mapped format on
the internet, the information is available on the internet through the ‘Learn more’ option on the Flood Map.
There may be discrepancies between this map and the areas benefiting from defences on the Flood Map. This is
because the assessment used to develop the Flood Map does not take into account the presence or condition of
flood defences, and so ignores the possibility of breach under different loading conditions. The areas benefiting
from defences on the Flood Map may therefore show a greater area of ‘benefit’ when compared with the National
Flood Risk Assessment results.

Figure 4.27 shows flood hazard rating data, with 7 bands of assessed hazard rating from 0 – 30 on a non-linear
scale. The hazard rating (HR) is calculated as a function of velocity (v), depth (d) and a debris factor DF such that
HR = d x (v + 0.5) + DF. The hazard rating provides an assessment of the direct risk to life arising from the
combination of water depth and its velocity of flow, based on experiments, and includes a debris factor which
recognises that debris-filled flowing water increases the danger to people. The map shown in this figure gives the
absolute values of this calculation. As this is a more specialized type of information, this map will be more useful to
the expert in flood risk than to the general public.

The formula on which this map is based is taken from the “Flood Risks to People – Phase II” report5. A simplified
presentation of the information for general use has been proposed in the report, as in the table below:

d x (v + 0.5) Degree of Flood Hazard Description

<0.75 Low Caution


“Flood zone with shallow flowing water or deep standing water”

0.75 – 1.25 Moderate Dangerous for some (i.e. children)


“Danger: Flood zone with deep or fast flowing water”

1.25 – 2.5 Significant Dangerous for most people


“Danger: flood zone with deep fast flowing water”

>2.5 Extreme Dangerous for all


“Extreme danger: flood zone with deep fast flowing water”

Figure 4.27 could have been produced using this banding rather than the banding shown. However, there are
several uses for such maps and the needs of the user must be understood before deciding on the bandings. For
example, the bandings in the table may be most useful for planning emergency response (evacuation routes, for
example) whereas the more detailed banding may be better for deciding where buildings and other infrastructure
should be located. This data has not been developed for the whole of England and Wales but will be produced
where needed (using a risk based approach). The data is not available on the internet.

Figure 4.28 shows Social Flood Vulnerability. This map is very easy to read for the non-expert and gives a quick
insight into the vulnerability of either a person or property at different locations within extreme flood outline. The

5 http://sciencesearch.defra.gov.uk/Document.aspx?DocumentID=3646

Atlas of Flood Maps 40


number of people at risk from flooding, and their social status, is measured by “social vulnerability”. The Flood
Hazard Research Centre at Middlesex University developed a Social Flood Vulnerability Index (SFVI), based on
three social groups (long-term sick, single parents, the elderly) and four indicators of financial deprivation
(unemployment, overcrowding, non-car ownership, non-home ownership). The SFVI can take a range of values,
and these are divided into bands from 1 (very low vulnerability) to 5 (very high vulnerability). Each Output Area of
the UK National Census has a SFVI band calculated, and the number of districts with each score in a flood risk area
such as Carlisle is used to calculate the overall social vulnerability of that area. On the map provided for Carlisle,
the ‘very low’ class is not present. This data is not available on the internet.

41 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 4.24 Flood extension map for the region of Carlisle
43 Atlas of Flood Maps
Figure 4.25 Example of flood map with indication of area benefiting from defence works
45 Atlas of Flood Maps
Figure 4.26 Flood hazard map of the region of Carlisle
47 Atlas of Flood Maps
Figure 4.27 Flood hazard rating map of the region of Carlisle
49 Atlas of Flood Maps
Figure 4.28 Social Flood Vulnerability map of the region of Carlisle
51 Atlas of Flood Maps
4.5.2 Scotland

In Scotland the organization SEPA looks after all aspects of flood control. Recently an interactive internet site has
been activated6 where for the whole of Scotland the expected flood extension is shown for a return period of
1/200 years. Both flooding from rivers and the sea are incorporated. The information provided is very similar to
what is available for England & Wales, although they use a return period of 1/100 yr for river flooding and
1/200 yr for flooding from the sea. An example is shown on Figure 4.29 for the city of Edinburgh.

Figure 4.29 Flood extension map for the city of Edinburgh from interactive internet site

Comments on the map


The maps that can be produced with the interactive internet site have a very clear outline and are easy to read,
partly because only a limited amount of information is presented (topography and expected flood extension by
flooding from rivers and the sea). On the example shown in Figure 4.29 both types of flood origin are included.
There is an option to show the flood defence works instead of the flood extension, but not both types of
information at the same time.

6 http://www.multimap.com/clients/places.cgi?client=sepa

53 Atlas of Flood Maps


7 Evacuation maps
7.1 Germany – Hamburg

For the city of Hamburg, detailed information is available on the internet on the activities that are being
implemented for the purpose of flood protection. Maps are available for several parts of the city on flood hazard
and the evacuation routes. On Figure 7.1 a detailed map is shown of part of the city (Wilhelmsburg) with an
indication of the evacuation zones corresponding to different water levels (6.5m and 7.5m), the location of
evacuation locations (‘Fluchtburgen’, indicated with ‘F1….8’), emergency residences (‘Notunterkünfte’, indicated
with ‘N1…4’) and busstops (‘H’) from where evacuation busses will depart. The maps are accompanied by an
extensive description of the expected situation in case of flooding and detailed advice to the general public how to
act in such circumstances.

This is a good example of a well-planned information package for urban population in a very large city. The
information is well-presented and easily accessible, although the files themselves may prove large for slow-speed
internet connections.

Figure 7.1 Part of the map with flood protection and evacuation zones of the city of Hamburg with (German) legend

53 http://fhh.hamburg.de/stadt/Aktuell/behoerden/stadtentwicklung-umwelt/bauen-wohnen/hochwasserschutz/start.html

54 http://fhh.hamburg.de/stadt/Aktuell/behoerden/inneres/katastrophenschutz/service/merkblaetter/start.html

179 Atlas of Flood Maps


7.2 Japan

In Japan municipalities are obliged to inform their inhabitants on the flood risk conform the Flood Fighting Act,
established in 2001. Since 2005 the municipalities are also obliged to take a pro-active attitude by distributing
flood risk and inundation maps freely among the inhabitants in order to increase the flood-preparedness and, as a
secondary goal, to contribute to the spatial planning within the municipality. The flood maps are prepared in two
steps:
1. the Ministery of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the prefecture (for resp. nationwide and regionally
adminstred river basins) determine the flood-prone areas;
2. the municipalities produce the Flood Hazard Maps.

The flood maps are produced following a nationwide standard that is determined by the Ministry, which e.g.
establishes the inundation depth classes (0 – 50, 50 – 100, 100 – 200, 200 – 500 & > 500 cm) and the
corresponding colour codes. The choice of those depth classes is based on ‘human characteristics’:
• 0 – 50 cm: most houses will stay dry and it is still possible to walk through the water;
• 50 – 100 cm: there will be at least 50 cm of water on the ground floor and electricity will have failed by now;
• 100 – 200 cm: the ground floor of the houses will be flooded and the inhabitants have either to move to the
first floor or evacuate;
• 200 – 500 cm: both the first floor and often also the roof will be covered by water. Consequently evacuation is
the logic choice of action now. The same applies, evidently, for the depth class > 500 cm.

Similar to the situation in e.g. the Netherlands, the flood inundation maps are based on hydrodynamic calculations
for several scenarios of possible locations of dike failure. The final map is based on the scenario that would cause
the maximum number of victims, i.e. a worst case approach. The return period of the flood that is shown on the
maps depends on the region as a function of potential damage.
Once such maps have been made on municipal level, the municipality adds local information that is relevant for
evacuation, such as the location of shelters, important buildings, evacuation routes, etc., as well as information on
the items that should be taken along during an evacuation. On some maps space is left for the user to draw a
personal evacuation route map based on the particular situation of the person or family.
All the maps are distributed free of charge to the public on scales of 1:5.000 to 1:10.000, and in some cases they
can be downloaded from the internet. It is the task of the municipality to keep the maps up to date.

Examples of flood maps that are available to the public are shown in Figure 7.2 for the city of Toshima, using the
depth inundation classes mentioned above. As in most cases the legend is only given in Japanese, although in
some cases an English legend is provided. Further information on the preparation of the map is given on the
internet55. On this site all relevant information is given necessary for evacuation in case of flooding, including the
addresses of the shelters.

Other examples are shown in Figure 7.3 and Figure 7.4. Especially the latter gives indications of shelters,
temporary shelters (which probably have fewer resources for a long duration stay), boundaries of evacuation
areas, the location of flood warning speakers and, contrary to general custom, an indication of roads that should
NOT be used for evacuation. The map also provides expected flood depths, although no indication is given to
which return period this applies, and the limits of a recent historical flood. Although this map has some interesting
features that are hardly ever found in other evacuation-type maps (like the earlier mentioned location of ‘flood
warning speakers’), the topographical layout on the scale presented is not sufficiently clear to be used in practical
situations. It may be used, though, for preparation purposes as a training for flood situations. Further information
can be found on the internet56.

55 http://www.city.toshima.tokyo.jp/english/bousai/hazardmap/index.html

56 http://www.icharm.pwri.go.jp/html/docu/jan_20_22_2004_ws/pdf_output/hiroki.pdf

Atlas of Flood Maps 180


Figure 7.2 Part of flood depth map for the city of Toshima in Japan

181 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.3 Evacuation map for the Japanese city of Sukagawa

Figure 7.4 Example of a flood hazard map with indications of evacuation roads

Atlas of Flood Maps 182


7.3 Netherlands

An example of an evacuation map in the Netherlands is shown in Figure 7.5 for polders along the Rhine river near
Germany. This maps shows clearly the mandatory evacuation routes, including indication of one-way converted
roads, closed entrances and exits, and are a easy to interpret by the general public.

In Figure 7.6 the simulation of the expected flood extension for the region of “Land van Maas en Waal” (see also
Chapter 4.14) is translated into a decision-support map that shows the areas that will either remain dry, reach a
water level that leaves the first flood of dwellings dry and those areas that will reach such water depths that
evacuation will be required. In order to take decisions on the best evacuation routes, a map is produced that
shows the time of arrival of the inundation front with a depth of 50 cm at the various types of infrastructure
(especially roads, see Figure 7.7). Depending on the decision up till which depth roads or other escape routes are
still safe to use, maps with the arrival time of dfferent inundation depths can be produced.

Figure 7.5 Example of an evacuation map for the Netherlands with indication of obstructions and lane direction and closed entrances and
exits

183 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.6 Basis for decision making on evacuation (expected inundation depth)

Figure 7.7 Time of arrival of the inundation front of 50 cm depth at infrastructure (roads/elevated areas)

Atlas of Flood Maps 184


7.4 USA

7.4.1 Mississippi
Similar to the comments made on insurance maps, there are a number of very interesting examples of evacuation
maps that can be used as examples for the development of evacuation maps in Europe. In the USA the evacuation
routes are published both by state and central on a clickable map of the entire country57.
In the maps from the USA reference is often made to the ‘contraflow’ principle, i.e. the reversing of the normal
traffic flow direction to change an ordinary two-direction road into a one-direction (evacuation) road to increase
its capacity. Special maps are prepared for such occasions that are referred to as ‘contraflow maps’. An example is
given in Figure 7.8 for a part of the State of Mississippi58 and a detailed map of a road crossing prepared by the
Mississippi Department of Transport is shown in Figure 7.959.

Figure 7.8 Hurricane evacuation routes in Mississippi state with indication of ‘contraflow’ roads

57 http://www.ibiblio.org/rcip/evacuationroutes.html#sbs

58 http://www.gomdot.com/cetrp/hurricane_evac_routes.pdf

59 http://www.gomdot.com/cetrp/hurricane_evac_routes.pdf

185 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.9 Example of detailed maps prepared for road crossings in case of ‘contraflow’ situations

7.4.2 Florida
The State of Florida produces a number of very clear and attractive evacuation maps. An example is shown in
Figure 7.10. This evacuation map is accompanied by a text with an indication of the ‘best’ evacuation route for
each of the villages in the region. The colours refer to expected hurricane / storm surge force (category 1 – 5)

Figure 7.10 Evacuation map for a part of Florida60

60 http://www.firstcoastnews.com/weather/stormtrack/evacuation_map.aspx

Atlas of Flood Maps 186


7.4.3 Louisiana – New Orleans
Evidently after the impact of the hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has become a focus of attention in terms of flood
prevention. Detailed evacuation maps are available for the all of the state of Louisiana (see e.g. Figure 7.11)61,
with for each road crossing a special map that indicates the contraflow plan and detailed instructions for the
evacuation by car (Figure 7.12).

Figure 7.11 Part of an evacuation map for Southwest Louisiana

61 http://www.dotd.state.la.us/maps/

187 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.12 Detail of contraflow at a road crossing (reference to map on Figure 7.11) and detailed instructions

Another example of an evacuation map for the city of New Orleans, including a phased evacuation plan, is given
in Figure 7.13. Very detailed instructions are available in case of a hurricane threat, with emergency shelter
information points, agency contact information, radio frequencies, a guide on how to make a ‘family
communication plan’ and even a chapter on ‘preparing your pets’.

Figure 7.13 Part of evacuation map of area of New Orleans with phased evacuation plan

Atlas of Flood Maps 188


7.4.4 California – Sacramento
A very interesting example of a combination of a flood depth map and a combined rescue / evacuation map is
available for the County of Sacramento in California, including the city of Sacramento itself. Various detailed maps
showing hypothetical levee breaks, inundation levels and the time it would take for waters to rise in affected
neighbourhoods, and rescue and evacuation zones have been made available on the internet62. For a specific
failure location two types of maps can be downloaded:
• Flood Depth Maps: show where the water would flow over time and how deep it would get given the
hypothetical flooding scenario.
• Rescue and Evacuation Route Maps: show rescue areas, evacuation areas, and potential evacuation routes.
− Rescue areas, in red, indicate places where water has the potential to reach a depth of at least one foot after
two hours from the time of a levee failure. People would not be able to drive out and likely would be
stranded and require rescue.
− Evacuation areas, in yellow, indicate places, depending on where the levee breech occurs, that could fill from
1 to 26 feet of water within 10 days, giving most people time to get out safely. Flood depth details are
specified on each map.
− This map also portrays potential evacuation routes (in green) and which evacuation routes would become
inundated over time.

A total of 18 sets of maps are available. Examples of both types of maps, with the corresponding legends, for the
American – River Arden region, are shown in Figure 7.14 and Figure 7.15.

Detailed maps are also available for some of the other States in the USA, especially New Jersey63 and South
Caroline64, but provide no extra information compared to the maps already shown in this Chapter.

62 http://www.msa.saccounty.net/waterresources/floodready/?page=maps

63 http://www.nj.gov/njoem/plan/evacuation-routes.html

64 http://www.dot.state.sc.us/getting/evacuation.shtml

189 Atlas of Flood Maps


Figure 7.14 Flood depth map of the county of Sacramento, with indication of location of hypothetical levee failure
and inundation process in time
191 Atlas of Flood Maps
Figure 7.15 Rescue and evacuation route map of the county of Sacramento, with indication of location of
hypothetical levee failure and passable routes in time
193 Atlas of Flood Maps