Mapping Coastal Community Flood Hazards

Visualizing flood hazards to prioritize and protect community values.

High tides, storm surges, and sea level rise are all responsible for flooding events along our coasts, but the impacts these events have are complex. To help coastal residents learn more about these impacts, we partnered with the City of South Portland to develop an interactive flood hazard mapping tool that allows residents to gain a community-wide perspective about coastal flooding hazards in their area. By zooming out and seeing the big picture, residents will see that coastal flooding threatens more than personal property, but that many businesses, recreational areas, and other valued community foundations are also threatened.

Project Goals:

  • Develop interactive tools coastal communities can use to visualize the complex social, economic, and ecosystem impacts of coastal flooding.
  • Build community capacity for resiliency planning and adaptation actions.

Preparing for Coastal Flooding in South Portland is an interactive mapping tool, developed in partnership with the City of South Portland, that allows the region's coastal residents to visualize the complex ways that coastal flooding and sea level rise will impact their individual and community values. The interactive resource tells a compelling narrative that underscores the threats posed to the region's social, economic, infrastructural, and ecological health — if nothing is done to prepare for the risks.

This platform serves as a useful framework for other coastal communities looking to develop data visualization and community outreach tools that build their capacity to plan and prepare for a future with higher seas. We hope that the benefits this resource provides — the ability to visualize and interpret the impacts of coastal flooding from a community perspective — will spark climate conversations between municipal departments about creating similar platforms. Platforms that allow municipalities to share how they’re preparing for a future with higher seas and showcase their resilience efforts.

Explore the coastal community flood hazard mapping tool

In this video, GMRI Coastal Resilience Program Manager Gayle Bowness joins City of South Portland's Sustainability Program Coordinator Lucy Perkins to explain the goals of the project, the design process, lessons learned, outcomes, and next steps.

Project Team

Project Partners

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