Floods are a major threat to human security, the environment, infrastructure and property. In the context of climate change and rising sea levels, rivers and heavy rainfall, the European Union has adopted the Floods Directive, which requires Member States to identify and map areas at risk of flooding. This Directive requires the production of flood risk maps and appropriate measures to reduce the risk of flood damage. Achieving this goal requires accurate elevation models of these areas to determine which areas are prone to flooding at different water levels.
Aerial LiDAR: Aerial LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is the natural method of choice for capturing data from large areas and generating an accurate terrain model. This technology uses light in the infrared, visible or ultraviolet spectrum to measure distances to Earth. These measurements allow the creation of digital elevation models (DEMs) that provide a detailed representation of the land surface and its features.
Mobile Scanning Systems: In addition to airborne LiDAR, boat-mounted mobile scanning systems are used for scanning riverbanks and surrounding areas. This approach is crucial for assessing the specific risks associated with rivers and watercourses. Data collected in the form of point clouds are essential for flood risk analysis and are a valuable tool for climate change adaptation, emergency management, urban planning and maintenance of waterways and watercourses.
Applications and Benefits:
- Flood risk analysis: By identifying flood-prone areas, authorities can take preventive measures to protect lives and property. These analyses are fundamental to the development of evacuation and emergency response strategies.
- Adapting to climate change: Climate change increases the risk of flooding. The use of LiDAR data allows communities and infrastructure to adapt effectively to these changes, thus minimising the impact on the environment and the population.
- Urban planning: Urban planners can use LiDAR data to design more flood-resistant cities. This includes appropriate siting of buildings, critical infrastructure and green areas to facilitate natural drainage.
- Emergency management: In the event of flooding, LiDAR data helps to ensure a quick and efficient response, allowing authorities to identify the most affected areas and prioritise rescue efforts.
- Planning and Maintenance of canals and waterways: LiDAR data allows the identification of areas where sedimentation and erosion affect waterways, thus facilitating the planning and execution of maintenance works.
Conclusions: Flood risk prevention and management in the European Union requires a complex and multidisciplinary approach, in which LiDAR technology plays a crucial role. Integrating this technology into planning and response strategies not only improves the ability to respond to natural disasters, but also contributes to safer and more sustainable communities in the face of the challenges of climate change. Therefore, the adoption and continued implementation of the EU Flood Directives, together with the advanced use of LiDAR technology, are essential steps in the protection of lives, environment and infrastructure in Europe.