With a population nearing one million, the City of Austin and its residents are in the heart of a region that’s highly vulnerable to floods, erosion, and water pollution. The City’s Watershed Protection Department (WPD), which employs fifteen GIS-related staff, is tasked with the important responsibility of reducing the impact of these events on its community.
In 2005, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) launched the Floodplain Map Modernization Program to improve the quality and accuracy of floodplain information across the country. Austin was actively involved in this process, and the City saw a significant increase in requests for floodplain-related information.
To address the strain on its resources, the WPD decided to build a public-facing web application to automate the distribution of information. However, by the time the original version of its FloodPro application – which was designed to give Austin citizens access to floodplain-related information – was finished its development in Silverlight, the framework was retired by Microsoft. In 2011, they turned to Geocortex for help.
With Geocortex Essentials technology, the WPD was able to produce an iteration of FloodPro that allows the public to easily access its many helpful features, like property-specific floodplain information, floodplain models, maps, and printable reports. Additionally, the application serves different groups in the community, from homeowners to developers and real estate agents.
Implementing FloodPro has freed up staff time equivalent of 1.5 full time employees for the WPD, allowing the department to focus on other important responsibilities without needing additional resources.
Because FloodPro was built on a platform that will be well-supported long into the future, the WPD does not have to worry about constantly adapting to changing technology. They are now focusing on their next phase: making FloodPro the ultimate resource for floodplain and storm drainage system modelling and data distribution.
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