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ASA's 3D Tool for Displaying Sea Level Rise and Flood Events Created for Hull, MA Wins National Award for Innovation


Hull Waste Water Pollution Control Facility inundation visualization

The town of Hull has been selected as one of three national recipients of NOAA's 2010 Walter B. Jones Memorial Award for Excellence in Local Government. Hull was chosen to receive this prestigious award for its outstanding efforts at local management of coastal hazards. As a StormSmart Coasts pilot community, Hull is working with CZM to improve management of coastal development to reduce the risk of people and property from coastal hazards. Specifically, Conservation Agent Anne Herbst played a key role in the development of an innovative tool to visualize inundation scenarios due to flood events and sea level rise, using the images to raise public awareness. Anne was also able to foster the creation of an innovative incentive program that encourages builders and homeowners to elevate new and renovated structures above predicted floodwaters. The Excellence in Local Government Awards are given to local governments that have inspired positive change in the field of coastal management by developing or implementing principles embodied by the CZMA.

ASA and sub-contractors ESS Group and WSP Sells generated 3D simulations of sea level rise and flood event inundation in an effort to enhance hazard mitigation planning, emergency response, and public awareness through improved flood visualization products. This study focused on seven critical facilities in the Town of Hull, MA.

Hull High School inundation visualization
ASA, working together with ESS Group and WSP SELLS, used LIDAR and survey data to create 3D models of five flooding scenarios at seven critical facilities around Hull. The facilities and flooding scenarios were determined by the entire project team which consisted of representatives of MACZM, the town of Hull, ASA, and ESS. Each site was surveyed by WSP Sells to verify LIDAR data accuracy and to provide building corner points and heights for generation of 3D building models by ESS Group. ASA then used the LIDAR data combined with five inundation scenarios to generate the 3D flood layers for overlay on the building models. Final products included a KML suitable for use in Google Earth and utilizing ‘Superoverlay’ technology to create zoom dependent and interactive visualizations. ASA also produced a series of images, an example of which is shown, for use in public presentation. The 3D building models designed by ESS Group were accepted into Google Earth’s native 3D building model layer. The project ultimately became a driving force behind the implementation of an incentive program for elevating new and renovated structures in Hull.