FM Global Creates Global Flood Map to Help Businesses Manage Flood Risk

April 5, 2017

With flooding on the rise around the world, Johnston, R.I.-based FM Global said it has created an interactive Global Flood Map to help companies manage this increasing and potentially costly risk.

The Global Flood Map provides business executives with a strategic planning tool, while it helps risk managers address worldwide natural hazard exposures, said FM Global in a statement, noting that a version of the new map is available for use by businesses and the public at no cost.

The new map can make initial loss-prevention and site-location decisions easier, by helping businesses accurately determine whether their locations are in or out of potential flood zones, said the company.

The Global Flood Map provides a worldwide view of high- and moderate-hazard flood zones, “even in areas where previously available information was unreliable, inconsistent or nonexistent,” FM Global continued.

“Flood is one of the costliest commercial property risks, and it’s only getting worse with climate change, globalization and urbanization,” said Brion Callori, senior vice president and manager, engineering and research at FM Global.

“Companies with properties anywhere in the world can now quickly identify the base flood risk for all of their facilities on a globally consistent, apples-to-apples basis, at a resolution of just 90 meters by 90 meters [98 yards by 98 yards],” Callori added.

Executives and risk managers no longer need to locate, review and compare different maps from multiple countries that employ a variety of methodologies, the company explained. Nor must they contact disparate agencies or make dozens of site visits just to garner basic information about whether particular properties reside in flood zones.

Users can now quickly determine whether their business locations reside in a flood zone simply by typing in physical addresses. The map identifies:

  • High hazards.If a location is in a 100-year flood zone, meaning it has a 1 percent chance per year of experiencing a flood, it will be highlighted in pink.
  • Moderate hazards. If a location is in a 500-year flood zone, meaning it has a 0.2-percent chance per year of experiencing a flood, it will be highlighted in yellow.

The map presents results in two zoomable view options – road and aerial – and includes buildings.

The company said the Global Flood Map is innovative in three ways:

  • Scientific basis.The Global Flood Map is a comprehensive, physically based flood map, employing hydrologic and hydraulic models, and reflecting data on rainfall, evaporation, snowmelt and terrain.
  • Consistency.The flood map provides a worldwide view of high- and moderate- hazard flood zones around the globe one 90-meter-by-90-meter tile at a time.
  • Geographic coverage.The flood map uniformly depicts high- and moderate-hazard flood zones for the vast majority of the planet’s land mass, including previously uncharted territories in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.

FM Global said its researchers built on the experiences of and data from more than 10 different external scientific, academic and governmental organizations to prepare the map, leveraging “FM Global’s powerful in-house computing clusters.”

Mitigating Flood Risk

Among natural disasters, flooding was the costliest overall peril in 2016 for the fourth consecutive year in terms of global economic losses, accounting for US$62 billion in losses, said FM Global, quoting Aon Benfield’s 2016 Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report.

“As with other risks, the first step in loss prevention is identifying the hazard, which is the purpose of the Global Flood Map,” said the company, noting that its engineering-based risk management approach is designed to help clients understand and mitigate flood risk.

Source: FM Global

More information on FM Global’s flood map can be found on the company’s website.

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