Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Visualizing coastal disasters

Nobody really likes to think about coastal disasters...but some of us spend an inordinate time doing just that. We try to calculate risks, develop effective response plans and spread the word to our communities. Its the spreading the word part that can be most difficult. I think there are two reasons for this. First no one really likes to think about disaster - we already covered this - but, unfortunately, it is a necessity. Next, it can be very difficult to imagine the scale of disaster that coastal hazards can generate. Even in the face of a media onslaught related, for example, to Sandy, it can be hard to visualize exactly what is going on, and exactly what the victims are experiencing.

That is exactly why these visualizations put together by ABC News in Australia are valuable - they show in stark terms the power of these extreme coastal events, and the changes they can bring in a matter of hours. These are amongst the simplest tools for understanding change on the coast...and the most powerful. For the first two below they use a very nice scroll over tool that allows you to rapidly go back and forth between the before and after photo...very cool.

Check this one out on Superstorm Sandy

and this one about the March 2011 Tohoku tsunami

and this one, utilizing street view photos from Japan

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