New Tool to Prepare for Tsunamis

Nov 12, 2014

Damaged docks in Crescent City following a 2006 tsunami.
Credit Lori Dengler, Humboldt State University.

After catastrophic a tsunami struck Indonesia in 2004, the US government ramped up efforts to prepare for a similar disaster on our own shores. Recently, it released a new tool to pinpoint areas of danger to help residents plan ahead. 

The tool is called Pedestrian Evacuation Analyst, it works as an ArcGIS extension and can be used to estimate the time it would take someone to leave a hazardous area on foot in the event of a tsunami (or even a flash flood or volcanic lahar). It factors elevation changes and land cover types into its estimates. This should help emergency planners evaluate the need and potential benefits of vertical evacuation structures and community training. 

Landcover map (left) and pedestrian evacuation time estimate map (right) Ocean Shores, Wash.
Credit USGS