Effective flood risk visualization

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The effective communication of flood risk offers the opportunity to ensure communities can adapt and respond appropriately to changing local conditions. At a time of diminishing resources, such local responses, which can empower communities and make them more resilient to uncertain future flood events, are vital. The most general and accessible type of flood communication are flood risk visualisations i.e. pre-prepared emergency flood maps. However, evidence suggests there is much we can do to improve their ability to communicate the complexities of flood risk to a range of stakeholders. This paper considers the development of flood risk visualisation approaches in the UK, presenting findings from a series of targeted workshops over twelve months, where the needs and criteria of stakeholder groups for effective flood risk visualisation were assessed via co-creative processes. Key stakeholders included Local Authorities, emergency responders, vulnerable homeowners, Environment Agency, business owners and, crucially, communities. These users need certain requirements to be considered in order for future flood risk visualisation to be effective. In particular, simplicity, a central hub of information, different visuals available for same the datasets/problems, different maps available for different users, consistent terminology and integrated community knowledge (e.g. local flood groups/help).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-396
Number of pages22
JournalNatural Hazards
Early online date18 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • flood risk
  • mapping
  • visualisation
  • vulnerability
  • communication


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