April means one thing in the environmental research calendar– the European Geosciences Union annual meeting. This is a huge conference in which more than 16,000 presenters from all around the world descend upon Vienna, Austria to share their research with the scientific community and develop new exciting collaborations. This is always a key conference for us at Fathom, and this year Ollie Wing, Niall Quinn and Jeff Neal went along to present our latest work.
Tuesdays ‘Global and continental scale risk assessment for natural hazards’ session contained some fantastic presentations from the scientific community relating to large scale modelling applications. Fathoms first presentation was on our collaboration with colleagues at Facebook in which we examined the influence of improved exposure maps on estimates of people at risk from extreme flooding in 18 developing countries (publication in print in Nature Communications). The results indicated a significant change in the patterns of exposure relative to previous, widely used maps, a finding that gained a lot of interest from the attendants at the session.
In the afternoon session Fathom started off the series of interesting oral presentations with two talks from Ollie and Jeff. Ollie’s presentation discussed the issues faced by flood modelers when attempting to represent flood defences in regions where accurate information on their locations and standards are unavailable. A promising new automated approach based on analysis of high-resolution DEM datasets developed at Fathom was introduced,the abstract of which can be found at https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2019/EGU2019-16656.pdf.
Jeff Neal followed this with a presentation on the new automated channel solver, newly implemented in the Fathom US framework to provide our V2 hazard layers. The results highlighted the significant improvements in channel characterisation of the new method, leading to a reduction in the under-estimation of channel conveyance resulting from backwatering effects. The abstract can be found at https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2019/EGU2019-14142.pdf
On Wednesday and Friday Ollie was back on stage, this time at the Google stand where he presented current research on the cost – benefit analysis of the conservation of floodplains to mitigate future flood risk across the US, in collaboration with colleagues at Google and the Nature-Conservancy.
Lastly, Niall presented recent developments within the recently published Fathom US stochastic model framework (paper doi: https://doi.org/10.1029/2018WR024205)in a session co-organised by one of our partners, Gero Michel of Chaucer-Syndicates, which aimed to connect insurance, academia and government representatives. This session provided a great opportunity for Fathom to generate new links both to those who might use our data and products as well as those who have data with which further model calibration and validation can be performed to improve our products.
As usual, EGU provided us with many new connections and research ideas…now the next step is to get working and provide some new and exciting developments to present at EGU 2020!