A pilot online Coastal Flooding Visualisation Tool (VisTool) was developed to demonstrate the tools that can be built with high resolution elevation data. Since production of the pilot VisTool there has been a significant increase in this type of capability becoming freely available on the internet. However, in many cases, free sea level rise tools do not use high quality elevation data in depicting the potential impacts of sea level rise. 

The pilot VisTool has been accessed by over 150 local governments, state/territory government agencies and Australian Government departments since January 2011. It has been used as a communication tool to demonstrate the effects of planning policies or decisions, both internally and externally; to perform broad, long term, regional planning; as an education tool to raise awareness of the effects of climate change; and to develop rudimentary sea level rise (SLR) plans (where no other tool exists).


The primary objective of this project is now to provide users with a simple on-line visualisation system (VisTool II) to communicate the potential consequences of sea level rise and flooding, and to produce maps on demand, using products derived from LiDAR data. In just a few minutes the tool allows the user to select their region of interest, select a sea level rise scenario, explore the impacts of tides and storm surge events, and then view or print a map showing the potential extent of flooding.

These capabilities have been developed through long term investments and partnerships between the Department of the Environment (DoE), Geoscience Australia (GA), the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI), the Australia and New Zealand Spatial Information Council (ANZLIC), State agencies, industry and academia. The tool is underpinned by Australia's best available national collection of high resolution elevation data acquired using airborne LiDAR, nationally consistent mapping of coastal landforms, and national tidal and storm surge models.

It allows users to investigate the extent and depth of coastal flooding under different climate change scenarios using high resolution digital elevation models derived from airborne LiDAR, and a ‘bucket-fill’ inundation modelling approach. Users can investigate the risks and potential impacts of sea level rise, tidal heights and seasonal storm surge up to a combined height of 10 metres wherever high resolution elevation data are available. Users can either explore defined scenarios, or their own scenarios based on local knowledge.



Graeme Kernich Conf2012Dr Graeme Kernich 
Deputy CEO