Active Archive of Large Floods, 1985-Present

Master Index of Inundation Maps

The Surface Water Record

Satellite River Discharge Measurements

River Watch

Other Flood Detection Tools

Sample Images and Maps






Access to the DFO Web Map Services
(An experimental product)

Web Map Services

DFO is developing Web Map Services (WMS) to make flood related data direclty available in your GIS system through a simple HTTP interface. So this makes it possible to have flood related layers directly incorporated in for example QGIS, ArcMaps or other GIS systems that allow WMS data streams as input. The advantage of using these WMS is that the data gets updated several times per day so you have always access and are displaying the latest flood related products in your GIS system without downloading constantly data. We are currently experimenting with this service by providing several data products for Africa. These are the data products:

Interactive Flood Portal

DFO has setup an interactive GIS portal through which the above described data for Africa is also viewable. Follow this link to go to the DFO GIS portal or explore the image below.

  • Red or purple = Daily water extent
  • Dark blue = Two week accumulated water extent
  • Light blue = January till current water extent
  • More layers are available through the DFO GIS portal

    Please notice: through the DFO GIS portal you are able to turn layers on and off.
    Also, long term standing water, so for example lakes, are observed as water as well and therefore included in the water extent products for now. This is similar for the coastal zone where a few kilometer stretch is choosen to be displayed as water extent as well. This so DFO can detect any flooding by for example storm surges.

  • Flood related products available through WMS

    WMS Layer URL - link: ingest in your local GIS system by copy and past the entire link Brief description
    Daily water extent http://floodobservatory.colorado.edu/geoserver/DFO_3day_current_AF/wms?version=1.1.0 The current daily water extent layer is a 3-day moving water extent product, processed by NASA Goddard's Office of Applied Science. Three days of data are included to overcome missing data due to clouds and at the same time give an almost near real time representation of the surface water extent.
    Two week accumulated water extent http://floodobservatory.colorado.edu/geoserver/DFO_2wk_current_AF/wms?version=1.1.0 The current 2-week water extent layer is a 14-day moving water extent product to specify the severity of long lasting floods. Large floods travel downstream leaving devastated areas behind. The 2-week product better maps the total extent of a flood.
    January till current accumulated water extent http://floodobservatory.colorado.edu/geoserver/DFO_Jan_till_current_AF/wms?version=1.1.0 This data product shows the water extent of the current year from January onwards, and will be monthly updated. This displayed aims to highlight the extent of flood events, which happened earlier during a calendar year.
    Annual flood inundation area 2015: http://floodobservatory.colorado.edu/geoserver/DFO_shapes/wms?service=WMS&version=1.1.0&request=GetMap&layers=DFO_shapes:2015_flood_extend_africa
    2014: http://floodobservatory.colorado.edu/geoserver/DFO_shapes/wms?service=WMS&version=1.1.0&request=GetMap&layers=DFO_shapes:2014_flood_extend_africa
    2013: http://floodobservatory.colorado.edu/geoserver/DFO_shapes/wms?service=WMS&version=1.1.0&request=GetMap&layers=DFO_shapes:2013_flood_extend_africa
    Flood maps of previous year provides valuable information as it indicates historical flood extents. For this project we can at least show flood extents from 2013 onwards and aim, if time permits, to extend the inundated layers back to 2000.
    Flood frequency maps http://csdms.colorado.edu/thredds/wms/dfo_frequency/africa/africa_flood_frequency.nc?service=WMS&version=1.3.0&request=GetCapabilities Local partners have indicated an interest in flood hazard maps that display the flood frequency and its extent for a given area. DFO is developing hazard mapping (see e.g. fig. 3) and is eager to extend this product to the areas of interest.
    Average flood duration Coming soon! DFO has approximately 3-4 years of daily water extent information. Derived information can provide average flood duration for a given area, information needed to analyze the inundation impact.

    Provide feedback

    It is our intension to make the above products and more available for the rest of the world as well and hope to finish this by the end of 2017. So be patient but please visit the DFO site from time to time as we will keep making it better. Feedback on the above products is more than welcome, please contact: Albert.Kettner [at] colorado.edu.

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    Creative Commons License
    This web site and associated data by G. Robert Brakenridge and Albert J. Kettner are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.



    This work is made possible by data acquired by NASA, the Japanese Space Agency, and the European Space Agency, and funding support from the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). The Observatory was founded in 1993 at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH USA and moved to the University of Colorado, INSTAAR, CSDMS in 2010. The institutional support of both universities is gratefully acknowledged.