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New Global Flood Map Illustrates Supply Chain Risk

Created by property insurer FM Global, map gives supply chain managers global view of flood exposure
By Patrick Burnson
April 13, 2017

With flooding on the rise around the world, FM Global today introduced a new way for companies to help manage this increasing and potentially costly risk to their businesses.

The interactive Global Flood Map presents business executives with a powerful new strategic planning tool, and risk managers with a way to address natural hazard exposure around the planet. A version of the new map is available for use by businesses and the public at no cost.

“Flooding is more than a nuisance that simply damages buildings in specific locales: it can affect machinery, data centers and transportation networks, causing reverberations throughout global supply chains,” says Brion Callori, Senior Vice President and Manager of Engineering and Research, FM Global. In an interview with SCMR, he adds that “companies that make themselves resilient win”

“We saw this in the Thailand floods. While many electronics manufacturers were adversely affected, companies with strong risk management solutions in place managed to get back on their feet more quickly. Analysts have cited the Thai floods as the primary reason for Seagate Technology recapturing the worldwide lead in hard disk drive (HDD) shipments in the last quarter of 2011.”

Because Seagate’s HDD manufacturing plant in Thailand was located on high ground, the company was less adversely affected by the floods, and it was able to continue supplying hard drives when its competitors could not, which led to market leadership.

“The flood map is one way we help businesses become resilient. We complement it with our FM Global Resilience Index, which gives businesses a view of multiple resilience drivers in 130 countries and territories,” says Callori.

The Global Flood Map provides a worldwide view of high- and moderate-hazard flood zones across the globe, even in areas where previously available information was unreliable, inconsistent or nonexistent.  The global flood map is meant to help accurately answer the question Are your locations in or out of potential flood zones? 

“Flood is one of the costliest commercial property risks, and it’s only getting worse with climate change, globalization and urbanization,” says Callori. “Companies with properties anywhere in the world can now quickly identify the base flood risk for all of their facilities on a globally consistent, apples-to-apples basis, at a resolution of just 90 meters by 90 meters.”

FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers, will showcase the map at the upcoming RIMS 2017 Annual Conference from April 23-26 in Philadelphia. Continuous interactive demos will take place in FM Global’s booth [#1627].

The new map can make initial loss-prevention and site-location decisions significantly easier. Executives and risk managers no longer need to locate, review and compare different maps from multiple countries that employ a variety of methodologies. Nor must they contact disparate agencies or make dozens of site visits just to garner basic information about whether particular properties reside in flood zones.

Users can now quickly determine whether their business locations reside in a flood zone simply by typing in physical addresses. The map identifies:
High hazards – If a location is in a 100-year flood zone, meaning it has a 1-percent chance per year of experiencing a flood, it will be highlighted in pink.
Moderate hazards – If a location is in a 500-year flood zone, meaning it has a 0.2-percent chance per year of experiencing flood, it will be highlighted in yellow.

The map presents results in two zoomable view options – road and aerial (includes buildings).

To give the tool a try the we took a look at the flood risk near the SCMR office in Framingham, Massachusetts.

According to spokesmen, the Global Flood Map is innovative in three ways:

  • Scientific basis – The Global Flood Map is a comprehensive, physically based flood map employing hydrologic and hydraulic models, and reflecting data on rainfall, evaporation, snowmelt and terrain.
  • Consistency – The Global Flood Map provides a worldwide view of high- and moderate- hazard flood zones around the globe one 90-meter-by-90-meter tile at a time.
  • Geographic coverage – The Global Flood Map uniformly depicts high- and moderate-hazard flood zones for the vast majority of the planet’s land mass, including previously uncharted territories in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.


FM Global’s researchers built on the experiences of and data from more than 10 different external scientific, academic and governmental organizations to prepare the map. The project leveraged FM Global’s powerful in-house computing clusters.

Among natural disasters, flooding was the costliest overall peril in 2016 for the fourth consecutive year in terms of global economic losses, accounting for $62 billion in such losses, according to Aon Benfield’s 2016 Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report.  The map is the latest embodiment of FM Global’s commitment to resilience. As with other risks, the first step in loss prevention is identifying the hazard, which is the purpose of the Global Flood Map. FM Global offers its engineering-based risk management approach to help clients understand and mitigate the risk. FM Approvals, an international leader in third-party testing and certification services, has established standards for products – e.g., doors, temporary perimeter barriers – that also help mitigate flood risk.

 

 


About the Author

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Patrick Burnson
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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