Floods are emerging as a leading natural disaster and causing devastating damages every year. Geographic information systems can help authorities to anticipate the occurrence of the floods and mitigate the possible damages to life and property.

flood modelling using gis

The occurrence of natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes are becoming common and environmental damage is the culprit.

Human activities and technological growth contribute to a host of environmental issues across the world. It causes global warming and alarming climate changes that result in an increased frequency of floods. In fact, flooding tops the list of these natural disasters and is considered as the No.1 disaster in the USA.

Today, heavy rains, flash floods, and tsunami strike without any warnings and we need accurate predictive and preventive measures to alert the authorities and support their mitigation and rehabilitation efforts.

GIS has proved to be immensely useful in flood mitigation by providing accurate and reliable spatial data for mapping and monitoring. The spatial information can identify and monitor flood-prone areas and help the authorities prepare for any unpleasant incidents. Urbanization with poor infrastructure, the population density of the cities, and lack of drainage facilities cause floods even for mild rains.

Let’s examine in detail the flood risk assessment using GIS.

GIS and its role in flood modeling

Floods cannot be prevented, but a well-defined flood management strategy can help to manage the floods and mitigate its damage. GIS can help in all four stages of flood management – prediction, prevention, preparation, and mitigation.

Spatial data offers a tool to visualize flooding and also estimate the possible hazards. Authorities can gather information about the spread of population and property in a particular location. GIS technology also provides data on various aspects such as land use, population density, high rainfall areas, slope and elevation of the terrain, urban infrastructure, drainage systems, and flood-prone regions. Such data assists the authorities in informed decision making. They can generate accurate reports based on the information and take preventive measures.

Geospatial data can create simulation models to predict the impact of floods. Authorities can map the evacuation routes and take measures for rehabilitation in safe zones. Simulations are effective to create preparedness and minimize the damages when a flood occurs.

By mapping flood-prone areas, authorities can identify the locations that need priority while allocating resources. There will be a clear picture of where the relief camps can be set up and the best transport routes from the affected areas.

GIS data also supports flood prevention. Authorities can understand the changes in land use and infrastructural defects of cities. They can revamp the infrastructure and make it less prone to flooding. Measures to correct the drainage systems can prevent waterlogging during incessant rains. Flood modeling using GIS allows authorities to act immediately when unexpected disaster strikes.


The threat of floods is increasing and we need better flood management systems to reduce the damages. Incessant and unpredictable rains and poor urban planning are only increasing the gravity of the situation. Geographic information systems provide the tools required for the collection, storage, and processing of spatial data. This database helps to monitor the flood-prone areas and tackle preventive measures. It increases the efficiency of flood management manifold due to the availability of accurate data and fast analysis.

SBL is an established geospatial service provider with a long list of successful GIS projects. We have supported the disaster management efforts of several clients across the globe with accurate spatial data and GIS maps.

Looking for a reliable GIS service provider who can support your GIS mapping requirements? Get in touch with our GIS division and allow our industry experts to get started on your project.