Imagery Illustrates Flooding, Damage Caused by Hurricane Irma

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The Florida Department of Transportation and Miami-Dade County each contracted with Woolpert to gain immediate, high-resolution imagery to assist with flooding and damage assessment, respectively.

Woolpert used color infrared imagery, which shows vegetation as red and water as black, to identify flooding following Hurricane Irma. This image shows part of Florida's St. Johns River basin.

"For FDOT, we captured 1,000 square miles of imagery along the St. Johns River in a single day as the water was cresting."

Woolpert, working under two separate contracts, collected and posted high-resolution, before-and-after imagery of areas in Florida affected by Hurricane Irma to assist with flooding and damage assessment. The initial imagery is available to the public at maps.woolpert.com/irma.

Miami-Dade County contracted with Woolpert for post-storm imagery as Hurricane Irma approached, while Woolpert’s work with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is part of an existing five-year, statewide contract for emergency mapping services.

Mike Zoltek, Woolpert project manager, said these projects had technically different goals.

“Miami-Dade wanted imagery from after the event, documenting damage assessment, while FDOT wanted to see how high the water got at the peak of the flooding to gain current flood conditions,” Zoltek said. “For FDOT, we captured 1,000 square miles of imagery along the St. Johns River in a single day as the water was cresting. The imagery was collected across four counties—St. Johns, Duval, Putnam and Clay—from Palatka to Jacksonville.”

The FDOT project is complete, while the Miami-Dade project has continued as weather allowed throughout the week. Imagery for FDOT was posted today, while Miami-Dade imagery is expected to be posted by Monday.

The collections have included 6-inch and 1-foot ground sampling distance (GSD) orthoimagery. The smaller the GSD, the higher the image resolution. As part of this process, Woolpert captured aerial imagery, processed the data, paired it with comparable imagery collected prior to the hurricane, delivered it to clients and posted it on a before-and-after online slider for use by anyone affected by the disaster.

The resulting online maps, aggregated with data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Google, enable viewers to look up an address, navigate to an area of concern, and zoom in and out.

Woolpert, whose planes had just returned from mapping the devastation in Houston after Hurricane Harvey when contacted by Miami-Dade, credited the county for preparing for recovery efforts before the storm hit.

“By arranging these services prior to Irma making landfall, we were able to have our flight plans prepared and our planes ready and stationed nearby,” Zoltek said. “Understanding the needs of the customer allowed us to adjust to the shifting trajectory of the hurricane and quickly get our collection underway.”

For the latest information on this collection, visit woolpert.com/irma.

About Woolpert
Woolpert is a national architecture, engineering and geospatial (AEG) firm that delivers value to clients by strategically blending engineering excellence with leading-edge technology and geospatial applications. With a dynamic R&D department, Woolpert works with inventive business partners like Google and Esri; operates a fleet of planes, sensors and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS); and continually pushes industry boundaries by working with advanced water technologies, asset management, Building Information Modeling (BIM) and sustainable design. Woolpert’s mission is to help its clients progress—and become more progressive. For over 100 years and with 25 offices across the United States, Woolpert serves the needs of federal, state and local governments; private and public companies and universities; energy and transportation departments; and the United States Armed Forces. The firm currently is doing business in all 50 states and in six countries. For more information, visit woolpert.com or call 937-531-1258.

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Jill Kelley
Woolpert
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