Open Dataset of the Week: Flood prediction

New Zealand’s predictive, location-based data can help save lives.

This week’s featured open dataset is on flood prediction data from Christchurch in New Zealand. The data shows which parts of the city are likely to flood. It has two separate sets of data for this - one for the areas that are likely to flood once in 50 years and another for parts that will flood once in 200 years. The most important elements of this data are location and prediction - both crucial pieces of information for officials to know where they should focus their resources to minimise damage and losses in the future. The data can make most impact for planning infrastructure and housing, both for the public and private sectors. Cities can plan to build drainage and waterways in the right places. They can set minimum floor heights for constructions in the areas at most risk of flooding. Construction and real estate companies can modify designs and use different materials to make houses in those areas resistant to floods. Local authorities can plan emergency services better, setting up flood alerts and sensors to detect water levels in high-risk areas. Flood prediction data is useful for insurance companies as well. They can know where the risk of flooding is and charge premiums based on this. And because this data is freely available citizens can make informed choices when the buy property in flood-risk areas. If they know that they are in a high-risk area, they are more likely to be prepared for floods and know what to do during an emergency. Here are links to Christchurch’s data on predicted floods: