Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flood Web Tools Comparison Matrix - National

Why Use This? This matrix was created to provide the planning and coastal management communities with an expandable chart to compare the functions and methods of publicly available sea level rise and coastal flood web tools. The information in each column is provided by the web tool owner. Specific questions about the tools can be addressed to the tool owner through the contact information provided in their matrix column. For more information or to suggest additional web tools, visit the national matrix page.

Suggested Citation: The Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flood Web Tools Comparison Matrix. The Nature Conservancy, NOAA's Office for Coastal Management, Climate Central. URL, Date Access:

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Climate Central
Surging Seas Risk Finder
NOAA's Office for
Coastal Management
Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer

The Nature
Coastal Resilience

NOAA's Office for
Coastal Management
Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper

Tool   Surging Seas Risk Finder
Climate Central

Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer
NOAA's Office for
Coastal Management

Coastal Resilience
The Nature

Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper
NOAA's Office for
Coastal Management
10GENERAL Geographic Scope Geographic extent the tool defines or covers (i.e. national, statewide, county…) Available for the entire contiguous coastal U.S. -- 22 states and Washington, D.C. -- with releases planned for HI and AK in the future. National (with the exception of AK) Expanding and now includes 14 U.S. coastal states (AL, CA, CT, FL, HI, LA, ME, MS, NJ, NY, NC, TX, VA, WA), the Caribbean (Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, U.S. Virgin Islands), and across Mexico and Central America (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras). Also global and U.S. national web maps together form the Coastal Resilience network. Coastal areas along Gulf of Mexico and East Coast
10GENERAL Link The URL or link where the tool can be accessed.,
10GENERAL Description Brief 2-3 sentence description of the purpose of the tool. Searchable web tool providing 1) maps users can customize, embed, & download; 2) downloads: spreadsheets, slideshow-ready tables & graphs, & fact sheets; 3) individual community analyses; 4) area comparisons; 5) local sea level & flood risk projections. 100+ demographic, economic & infrastructure variables analyzed for 1000s of communities from zip code to statewide levels. Tool allows users to visualize community-level impacts from coastal flooding or sea level rise and provides easy access to inundation and elevation data via NOAA's Digital Coast. An online mapping tool customized for local and state decision makers showing potential impacts from sea level rise and coastal hazards designed to help communities develop and implement solutions that incorporate ecosystem-based adaptation approaches A mapping viewer designed to help coastal communities start discussions about coastal flood hazard impacts with maps that show people, places, and natural resources exposed to coastal flooding.
10GENERAL Target Audience The assumed users of the tool (e.g. planners, coastal managers, public) Decision makers, planners, coastal managers, emergency managers, federal and state agencies, journalists and the general public Decision makers, planners, coastal managers, floodplain managers, emergency managers, coastal scientists and engineers, general public Decision makers, planners, coastal managers, emergency managers, coastal scientists and engineers Decision makers, planners, coastal managers, floodplain managers, emergency managers, general public
10GENERAL Skill Level Low (no formal training other than basic computer skills); Medium (need moderate amount of knowledge about coastal management or processes to interpret results); High (need high level of knowledge to interpret information). Low Low to Medium Low-Medium Low
10GENERAL Main Tool Outputs Qualitatively different tool functions or modules that a user can take from the tool. For example, a map might be the primary output, however, the tool may also allow the user to comparisons, scenarios or generate reports. Maps, community analyses, wide area analysis comparisons, projections, downloads and reports. Maps, sea level rise scenarios, photo simulations, flood frequency graphs Maps (on-screen and pdf), Summary reports (on-screen), Bookmark links, Downloadable spatial data Maps
10GENERAL Year Released Year the most current version of the tool was released. Rolling release starting Fall 2013 2011 Gulf of Mexico / 2012 US West and Mid-Atlantic Coasts / 2013 US NW, SW and Pacific Islands / 2014 Puerto Rico, USVI, NE / 2015 Louisianna 2013 2015
10GENERAL Date Column Last Updated July 2016 April 2017 December 2015 October 2015
10GENERAL Top Three Strengths As succinctly as possible, list the top three strengths that make this tool unique. 1) Comprehensive tool providing exposure analysis, comparisons, and projections, as well as an interactive map. 2) Analyses cover ~100 variables, and conducted for 1000's of individual areas (zips, cities, counties, states, planning and legislative districts at all levels). 3) Local projections combine sea level rise and storm surge to give integrated risk estimates by decade. 1) Easy to use via Web browser, with GIS analysis results and map services available; 2) Uses consistent data sets and analysis for coastal areas nation-wide; 3) Includes photos and allows users to customize local scenarios and visualize impacts of sea level rise at known locations. 1) DESIGN: The tool has a modular, plugin architecture: Coastal Resilience “apps” can be developed by anyone and plugged into the web-based mapping platform. This allows developers to design a specific application to highlight a coastal management issue, respond to a disaster for post-storm decision making, or emphasize nature-based alternatives; 2) PERFORMANCE: Coastal Resilience 2.0 runs faster; operates on tablets; works nationally and globally; ... is open source, and it’s easy to share results and data; 3) PARTNERSHIPS: Developed among core partners including The Nature Conservancy, University of Southern Mississippi, The Natural Capital Project, NOAA Coastal Services Center, and the Association of State Floodplain Managers 1) Allows users to select a location and explore maps that show people, places, and natural resources exposed to coastal flood hazards; 2) Creates a collection of maps to download or share online to communicate flood exposure; 3) Provides guidance for using the maps to engage community members and stakeholders in conversations about potential coastal flood impacts
10GENERAL Top Three Limitations As succinctly as possible, list the top three weaknesses or limitations that coastal planners or managers might encounter using this tool. 1) Map should not be used for site-specific decisions (supplement with direct field measurements of elevation), as wider-area analyses are more robust than point-by-point mapping; 2) Levee data are incomplete, and maps/analyses incorporating levees assume condition good and heights infinite; 3) No physical modeling of storm surge or waves on top of sea level rise. 1) Inundation scenarios do not include coastal storm surge, riverine flooding, erosion or other coastal processes; 2) Appropriate for use as a screening-level or planning tool allowing zoom in scale of approximately 1:18,055, but provides map services and data download for more in depth analysis. 3.) Includes fully enclosed federal levees as mapped by the USACE National Levee Database. Partially enclosed, regional, or local levees have been added in certain locations. 1) ONLINE-ONLY: No ability to access the tools with limited or lack of connectivity; 2) USER-FRIENDLINESS: Not catered to general public, so training is requirement to engage stakeholders so they can fully utilize the tool and understand the data and analyses; 3) COMMUNICATIONS: With so many tools now available on the web, it is hard to decipher the niche and therefore use of this tool relative to others that address similar issues 1) Cannot customize outputs or load additional local inputs directly into the tool; 2) Appropriate for use as a screening-level or planning tool allowing zoom in scale of approximately 1:18,055; 3) Changes or updates to source datasets will not be reflected in the tool until the next data update is completed
10GENERAL Point of Contact Please give a key contact for questions about the tool and its future development. Name and email address. Dan Rizza: John Rozum: Zach Ferdana: Russell Jackson:
20SLR AND FLOOD SCENARIOS Base Sea Level Elevation Reference surface for which elevation is zero, such as mean higher high water. All other given elevations are computed as the height above this surface. Mean Higher High Water (MHHW) Mean Higher High Water (MHHW) Total Water Levels - Wave run-up + tides Mean Higher High Water (MHHW)
20SLR AND FLOOD SCENARIOS Flood/Inundation Controls Method inundation or water levels are changed by the user (e.g. slider bar, radio buttons) Slider bar with inundation delineated in 1 foot increments from 1 - 10 feet. Toggle button to the right of the slider to view inundation ​risk from sea level rise, tides, storms, and tsunamis in meters: 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 5, 10, 20 & 30. Slider bar with inundation delineated in 1 foot increments from 0 - 6 feet. Scenarios Tab includes ability to view SLR scenarios by scenario or by year and compare to inunation layers to view impacts. Choice of Current, 2030, 2060, & 2100 projections with choice of Low, Medium & High Sea Level Rise Projection Scenarios for each time horizon and a combination of 3 potential wave climate changes (no change, 500 year wave event, or a doubling of El Nino frequency) Users selects individual coastal flood hazards or composite flood hazards.
20SLR AND FLOOD SCENARIOS Flood Layers Represented How are the inundation or flood level indicated on the map. Does the map use colors to show flooded areas? Blue - inundation; Hatched - low-lying but isolated Blue gradient - inundation depth; Green - low-lying areas Tidal inundation, wave impact, flood inundation, river flood inundation FEMA flood Zones (1%, 0.2%, V-Zones), Category 3 hurricane storm surge zones (SLOSH MOMs), sea level rise inundation (from NOAA Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer), shallow coastal flooding (from NOAA Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer), coastal flood hazard composite
20SLR AND FLOOD SCENARIOS Uncertainty Represented Yes/No. Is uncertainty of the flood levels indicated on the map? No for elevation, yes for projections Yes In future version, analysis completed; layers currently under development No
20SLR AND FLOOD SCENARIOS Way Uncertainty Represented If uncertainty is represented as indicated in the field above, then how is it represented? Briefly describe. Map does not represent uncertainty in elevation values. However, projection tool presents different sea level rise models and scenarios, and reflects uncertainty information as available for these. Confidence is noted as High vs. Low, so the areas not highlighted as high or low indicate a high confidence of not being inundated: " . . . the blue areas denote locations that may be correctly mapped as "inundated" more than 8 out of 10 times. Areas with low confidence represent location that may be mapped correctly (either as inundated or dry) less than 8 out of 10 times." see above
20SLR AND FLOOD SCENARIOS Projects local sea level rise Yes/No. Includes localized (not just global) projections for the amount of sea level rise over time. Local projections must take into account regional and local factors such as sinking land. Yes Yes, Scenario and Marsh tabs provide local relative SLR scenarios Yes No
20SLR AND FLOOD SCENARIOS Projects future flood elevations Yes/No. Includes projections for how high "standard" floods -- e.g. "1-in-100 year" floods -- will reach in the future, accounting for sea level rise and/or changing storms. Yes No Yes No
20SLR AND FLOOD SCENARIOS Projects future flood risk at fixed elevations Yes/No. Includes projections for the future annual and/or cumulative risk of floods to fixed elevations -- e.g. 5 ft. above today's sea level -- accounting for sea level rise and/or changing storms. Yes No Yes No
20SLR AND FLOOD SCENARIOS Projection time periods assessed Include all years/periods for which projections are made. each decade 2020-2100 Yes out to 2100 Current, 2030, 2060, 2100 No
20SLR AND FLOOD SCENARIOS Flood projections factor in changing frequency or intensity of storms Yes/No. Self-explanatory. Not applicable if flood projections not provided. No No Yes No
20SLR AND FLOOD SCENARIOS Allows choice of projection scenarios/models Yes/No. Choice of emissions scenario or choice of sea level rise model such as NOAA's lowest, intermediate low, intermediate high, or highest sea level rise scenario; USACE lower, middle, or upper sea level rise projections; or the range of IPCC sea level projections. Yes No Yes No
20SLR AND FLOOD SCENARIOS Shows levees Yes/No. Shows levees on map. Include source of levee information if possible. Yes Yes - Links to USACE NLD Yes No
20SLR AND FLOOD SCENARIOS Factors in levees Yes/No. Factors levees into map and any analysis of vulnerable areas. Summarize methods if possible. Yes Yes, using FEMA base flood elevations. Yes Yes if they are captured in LIDAR based elevation data
20SLR AND FLOOD SCENARIOS Inundation Model Used Briefly and in as non-technical as possible, describe the modeling method used. Modified bathtub approach, modeling hydrologic connectivity and locally adjusted Mean Higher High Water levels. Modified bathtub approach, modeling hydraulic connectivity and locally adjusted Mean Higher High Water levels. HEC-GeoRAS tool in ArcGIS outputs for river flooding , FEMA overtopping model used results projected against topographic surface composite The various coastal flood hazard layers displayed are derived from different modeling methods. Refer to layer source information.
30EXPOSURE ANALYSIS Tabulates exposure within designated areas Yes/No. Gives total land, housing, etc. exposed at different flood or sea levels, within units such as cities or counties Yes no just overlay visualization of social and economic data Can be queried using existing GIS tools No
30EXPOSURE ANALYSIS Exposure types tabulated Variables analyzed, such as land, housing, property value, population, roads, airports or other infrastructure >100 demographic, economic, environmental and infrastructure variables No No No
30EXPOSURE ANALYSIS Designated areas for tabulation Geographic units within which exposure is tabulated, such as cities, counties, states or zip codes zip codes, cities, counties, states, local through federal legislative districts, planning districts, state agency districts No User defined No
30EXPOSURE ANALYSIS Shows or lists individual exposed facilities or public infrastructure Yes/No. Tool is able to give the user output that would allow them to evaluate potential vulnerable facilities and/or public infrastructure. Output could be either a map, or a report/listing. Lists all facilities analyzed in tables for download. Shows select facilities and infrastructure on map. No Different data layers can be viewed with hazards to determine individual exposed facilities or public infrastrucuture Yes, through visualization overlays
30EXPOSURE ANALYSIS Compares exposure across designated areas Yes/No. Includes display (e.g. heat map) showing how different areas compare (e.g. how do counties compare for exposure of housing) Yes No No No
40SHORELINE PROCESSES Other Flooding Scenarios Modeled Other than the model scenarios above, are there other flooding scenarios mapped? (i.e. specific storm scenarios, shallow coastal flooding, base flood elevations) Fully integrated analysis of SLR projections with flood risk Shallow (Nuisance) Coastal Flood Frequency Wave impact and river flood inundation See all flood datasets listed above
40SHORELINE PROCESSES Coastal Erosion Yes/No. Does the method used take coastal erosion processes into account? No No Yes - acceleration of coastal erosion No
40SHORELINE PROCESSES Sediment Dynamics/Deposition Yes/No. Does the method used take coastal sediment dynamics and deposition into account? No No Yes - indirect accounting of coastal sediment budget, sediment yield from watersheds calcuated No
40SHORELINE PROCESSES Storm Events Yes/No. Does the method used take the impacts of future storm events into account? Fully integrated analysis of SLR projections with flood risk No Yes - wave impact, flood inundation and river flood inundation (large storm) No
40SHORELINE PROCESSES Habitat/Species Change Yes/No. Does the method allow the user to visualize potential impacts to habitats and changes in species distribution? No No No No
40SHORELINE PROCESSES Marsh Migration Yes/No. Does the method allow the user to visualize the potential impacts to coastal marshes and how they may migrate with rising sea level? No Yes Future scenarios analyzed using SLAMM for tidal influenced wetlands No
50TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Basemap Options What types of base map(s) are used in the tool? (e.g. satellite imagery, topographic, streets, hybrid maps) Satellite, Streets Satellite, Open Streetmap, Dark Topographic, National Geographic, Ocean, Imagery, Physical, Shaded Relief, Streets, Terrain Satellite, grey canvas
50TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Main elevation data source Examples include LIDAR or National Elevation Dataset. Lidar Lidar Lidar
50TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Main elevation data source vertical accuracy Published error. Use maximum error, or accuracy standard, when different sub-datasets have different error. Same as NOAA NOAA/USGS specs 9.25cm RMSE NOAA/USGS specs 9.25cm RMSE
50TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Horizontal resolution Dimension of elevation grid cell size. 5 Meters (~15 feet) 5 Meters (~15 feet) Varies across datasets.
50TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Other Available Data Layers Beyond the inundation/flooding layers, what other unique data layers are available? On map: Social Vulnerability, Population Density, Ethnicity, Income, Property, Landmarks. In analysis and comparison tools: about 100 population and infrastructure variables. Flood Frequency, Social and Economic Vulnerability at Census block groups, Marsh Impacts, Photo visualizations of key landmarks Infrastructure, Land Use/Zoning, Natural Resources, Socieconomic data Population density, poverty density, elderly density, employment density, projected population change, developed land cover, critical facilities, land cover changed to developed (1996-2011), natural areas and open space, potential pollution sources.
50TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Place name searchable Yes Yes Yes No
50TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Maximum Zoom-in What is the farthest in a user can zoom in with the tool? 1:4,500 Tile cached data to 1:18,055 Tile cached data to 1:5,000 Tile cached data to 1:18,055
50TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Map Services Available Yes/No. Are the data layers in the tool available as map services that can be accessed by the public? No Yes Yes Yes
50TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Data Download Available Yes/No. Are the data layers in the tool available for download by the public? Yes Yes Yes No
50TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS If data download available, please list types If answered yes for Data Download Available, please list the layers that are available for download. Summary tables and detailed lists in Excel for 100+ demographic, economic, infrastructure and environmental variables, tabulated by state, county, municipality, zip code, planning and legislative districts, & more Inundation, confidence, shallow coastal flooding, SOVI, and DEMs, and Marsh migration upon request Various
50TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Does tool use other map services? Yes/No. Does the tool consume other map services from other providers as a part of the tool? If so, which ones. (please specify) No Yes, ESRI Basemaps FEMA, NOAA Yes, ESRI Basemaps, Esri Population Change Projections 2012-2017
50TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Additional Software Needed Yes/No. Does the user require additional software in order to use the tool? No No No No
50TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Cross Platform Yes/No. Is the tool platform and operating system independent? (i.e. can it operate on all computer platforms equally well) Yes (modern browsers) Yes Yes Yes
50TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Mobile Compatible Yes/No. Will the tool operate on any mobile platform (e.g. iPad, iPhone, Android)? On modern tablets/phones Yes, but not phones Yes Yes
60OTHER Training Requirements Does the tool require training before it can be used efficiently? None but support available as needed. None None but suggested None
60OTHER Documentation, Training & Technical Resources Describe the types of documentation on tool methods and training resources available. Research papers for each state, FAQs, methodologies, tutorials FAQs, methodologies, and related technical documents; brief "First Time Tips" video; 56-minute recorded webinar, In-person or online training available upon request Video tutorials for: General Navigation; Scenario Planning; video simulations for apps including Flood & Sea Level Rise, Coastal Defense and Risk Explorer. Metadata and methods documented and accessible within the tool. Associated website for FAQ and project information FAQs, data documentation, new training link to the tool that includes a pre-recorded detailed demonstration
60OTHER Is the tool based on, or featured in, any peer-reviewed publication(s)? If so, please list (INCLUDE LINKS IF AVAILABLE) Please list the peer-reviewed publications that the tool, or underlying model, has discussed and/or featured the tool. Based on Strauss et al 2012 and Tebaldi et al 2012, Environmental Research Letters. Featured in Wong-Parodi G, Fischhoff B, and Strauss BH (2014) Climatic Change, 1-9, Stephens et al 2014 Science Communication, and the Science of Science Communication II Sackler Colloquium PNAS 2014. Marcy, et al., 2011. “New Mapping Tool and Techniques for Visualizing Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts.” In Proceedings of the 2011 Solutions to Coastal Disasters Conference, Anchorage, Alaska, June 26 to June 29, 2011, edited by Louise A. Wallendorf, Chris Jones, Lesley Ewing, and Bob Battalio, 474–90. Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers. Yes, various publications listed here None
60OTHER Costs Are there costs involved in using this tool? Does the user community bear any of the development cost directly? None None Free of charge. Open source code for the tool framework and individual apps are available under a GNU General Public License, version 3 agreement at None
60OTHER Are Future Versions Planned? Please describe if there are plans for future improvements to the tool. Yes Version 3.0 released in 2017 Yes. Tool framework being upgraded on GitHub in 2015-2016 as well as individual browser-based apps (Coastal Resilience 3.0) Future updates anticipated