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Flood recovery gains emergency support from Ordnance Survey


Geographic information from Ordnance Survey is supporting the emergency response to the severe flooding affecting large parts of central and southern England.

The national mapping agency’s Mapping for Emergencies team has delivered a variety of digital data free of charge to local authority staff, fire and rescue services and contractors working for water utility companies.

In one instance, the data – delivered within three hours of the initial request – was used to help map the locations of nearly 1,000 freshwater bowsers being distributed across the Severn region by a fleet of tanker drivers. Pinpointing and sharing the temporary positions of the bowsers will be crucial for delivering refills and managing transport logistics.

Ordnance Survey mapping is also providing the basis for overlays of aerial images and road traffic data as different agencies and incident-response teams visualise the extent of current and potential flooding and gauge optimal rescue routes. One of the key scenarios has been evacuation planning around the Castle Meads power station in Gloucester.

The information from Ordnance Survey includes street-level mapping, 1:50 000 Scale Colour Raster mapping, highly detailed digital height data (Land‑Form PROFILE Plus), Points of Interest data, and the Topography and Imagery Layers from the OS MasterMap product portfolio. Paper mapping has also been supplied: around 150 OS Landranger Maps and weatherproof OS Explorer Maps were dispatched to staff at Gloucestershire County Council within an hour of their request.

Under its Mapping for Emergencies scheme, Ordnance Survey aims to provide an immediate combination of mapping and expertise in response to emergencies such as floods, fires, contamination leaks, disease outbreaks and in searches for missing people. Coordinators and volunteers work closely with emergency services and other agencies to ensure the most appropriate data is supplied as quickly as possible.

Ordnance Survey recently delivered support for emergency planners managing the evacuation of hundreds of people from homes at risk of flooding in South Yorkshire. Help was needed so that planners could gauge the potential extent of flooding around the Ulley dam near Rotherham.

Ordnance Survey staff used highly detailed spatial address and digital height data to identify properties within specific height bands, offering the planners a sound basis for determining risk and priorities. Address data and mapping were supplied direct to the planners, building a useful context for action.


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