Moreton Bay company leads the way with flood data

Published 5:00am 25 May 2023

Moreton Bay company leads the way with flood data
Words by Jodie Powell

An Australian-first flood information portal developed by a Moreton Bay business is expected to be a game-changer in flood management across Australia.

The comprehensive and easy-to-use FloodQuery portal created by Spatial Innovation has the potential to revolutionise the way local governments manage flood information.

Managing director and Redcliffe Peninsula Chamber of Commerce president Victor Nicholls says FloodQuery was designed in consultation with Lockyer Valley Regional Council, which received a State Government grant to fund development.

“We have been working with Lockyer Valley Regional Council for a while now – we do all their town planning maps,” he says.

“From there they had this idea and of course we said yes, but because of the size it had to go out to tender.”

Spatial Innovation has received a $78,000 Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas grant to commercialise the portal by making it available to other local governments.

In-depth information

FloodQuery provides point-specific data about flood levels, producing a report highlighting engineering parameters such as depth, velocity, and the hazard of the water at specific locations.

“In effect, the super-speed online information portal drastically increases the information available to residents, while at the same time drastically reducing the cost of delivering that information for Council,” Victor says.

Lockyer Valley Portfolio Councillor for Planning and Development Rick Vela says the council is proud to be pioneering an innovative system that provides up-to-date and detailed flood information on properties in the region that are subject to flood overlay and gives residents information they need to confidently make property related decisions.

“The Flood Information Portal is an interactive tool which provides a level of detail and confidence never seen before and is an exciting development in Council’s suite of flood intelligence information,” Cr Vela says.

“The system provides data on specific locations within a lot, which is ideal for larger rural and residential properties where flood constraints can vary widely, and reports are generated online for free, in just minutes.

|“Landowners and developers are better able to understand flood constraints, and this will improve the quality and appropriateness of development proposals.”|

Many uses

Victor says the software is a boon for home-buyers, developers and builders.

“In the past, residents would fill out a form and then Council officers would come back to them,” he explains.

“That was taking about 20 days, which is not great, but the majority of reports now go back within a minute.

“It’s easy to find, easy to use and converts difficult information into something that’s easy to understand.”

He says residents can also potentially use the information to convince insurance companies to insure their properties, with data that’s based on recent and historic floods used to generate accurate reports.

“In the Lockyer Valley system there’s 14 or 15 different models and events you can search for.

“All floods are different, depending on where the rain falls and over years you get development and rain changes, flood events and climate change models.

“A lot of insurers are risk averse so they would blanket an area, but you might have a property where the block is affected but the house is not – now you can go online and prove it.

|“It’s about supplying information which is right and correct and it’s free for people to use.”|

Victor says the tool has been particularly helpful in the Lockyer Valley, which was ravaged by the 2011, 2013, 2017, 2021 and 2022 floods – which have left a lasting impact on the region.

“It’s the perception of everything – the perception that the whole area floods and that lags on for years and years, but a lot of properties are fine.

“It started as a resident-based system but when there are disaster management stand-ups they bring it up (and) the works department is looking at it when they are rebuilding roads – there’s these other uses.

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