Flooding Google Earth

We’ve discussed how flooding can be visualized a few times in Google Earth, because it’s a great medium with which to show off catastrophes such as that. In addition to helping with fresh imagery from recent floods in Pakistan and Nashville, it’s also been used to help bring to life the 1966 flood in Florence and an animation of how rising sea levels would affect various cities.
Today’s post comes from Richard Treves over at Google Earth Design. He’s recently read Will Self’s “Book of Dave, which imagines a future where sea levels have risen over 100 meters.
Richard has taken that idea and given step-by-step instructions on how to simulate a 100m rise in sea level for any area of the world. I took his example and put it over London, with the results seen here:


To view that file in Google Earth, you can download this KMZ file.
It’s a great way to visualize something like this, and Richard put together a great guide for it. However, I’d like to make one small correction. In step #4, he advises choosing “Relative to Ground” for the water level. While this will put water 100m deep in the area you choose, it’s not necessarily representative of a 100m rise in sea level. Instead, choose “Absolute” in step #4 (as I did in the KMZ above) to see what it would be like if the sea level rose 100m world wide.
As Richard mentions, and as you’ll see in the screenshot above, leaving 3D buildings turned on is a great way to see the scale of the depth of water. Check out his blog and go try it for yourself.
Great job Richard!

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Glad you liked it!
    As I mentioned in the post, I’m still not certain it works as expected with ‘absolute’ as altitude type, does that work for you?

  2. I don’t think it’s realistic at all to assume sea level could rise 100 M, let alone 200. Most projections show a high end of 14 M tops, which probably would affect a couple of buildings in London, but not nearly as much as this unrealistic scenario.

  3. Very interesting tool. I could see where those of us in the real estate industry could make use of this tool. I bet insurance professionals would be interested in it as well.

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