Highlight the risk in real estate
Case in point: seasonal flooding of Mississippi river over Davenport, Iowa.

Along the Mississippi river exists seasonal flooding due to spring rains. In previous years, it experienced the highest amount of flooding since record-keeping began in the 1800s. According to USA Today, the river was nearly 23 feet (7 meters) deep, and about 8 feet (2.5 meters) above flood level.

Here is the NEXTMap One elevation map, or DSM digital surface model, over Davenport, Iowa, a town of about 100,000 people.

In the above visualization, green areas in the image are at lower elevations, and red areas are at higher elevations.

So how can we extract meaningful insights when it comes to seasonal flooding from very high-resolution elevation data?

Vulnerability mapping

By overlaying the road network of the area on top of the DSM, it is possible to see the roads and the elevation information together. Roads over dark green areas are built at low elevations, while roads over lighter areas are built over higher elevations (US Census Bureau).

Using a Digital Surface Model (DSM), which includes buildings and infrastructure, it is possible to see exactly which structures will be affected if the river rises to a specific level. And this can be performed by conducting a Vulnerability Mapping of the area. 

In the figure above, all the areas that would be affected in case the Mississippi river rose about 14 feet (4.2 meters) above the normal water level were identified, and are shown in blue-purple colors. Even the pedestrian and cycling bridge in the middle of the frame could be affected by a flood this high. These insights are possible to be extracted because of the level of resolution of the elevation data used, which is at 1 meter of both horizontal and vertical accuracy. In simple words, this means that a DSM can show all constructions and details of topography whose dimensions are bigger than 1x1 sq. meters.

Find out geospatial products for Real Estate applications

Elevation datasets and satellite imagery of centimeter accuracy are available to support your projects!

About NEXTMap One by Intermap

The NEXTMap One dataset is the industry-leading 1-meter resolution (3.28ft) elevation data set built with 2016 or newer satellite data, so you know you are getting the most up-to-date information available. It is 6 times more precise than free data and is more affordable than other commercial options, making it the best bang for your buck.

The seamless data set offers coverage free from blunders, seam lines, or spikes that can be visible in other datasets.

With availability over the whole USA and Germany, you can get the coverage you need for your project. Water bodies and coastlines are flattened and corrected for accurate measurement. And NEXTMap One operates natively with all of your other data or programs since it's compliant with the OGC data standards.

NEXTMap One is available as a DSM (digital surface model) or DTM (digital terrain model). With a DSM, it is possible to see buildings and trees, whereas, with a DTM, just the bare earth surface is presented. A DSM might be beneficial for visualizing hazards down to the individual building level. A DTM might be more useful for slope and soil removal calculations.

A new era in Risk Assessment: answr

In case you need to perform a Vulnerability Mapping for river flooding or any other natural hazard over a broader region before making a property investment, then answr is the key! 

Answr is an API-based platform where you can get climatic statistics and risk data layers for natural hazards, e.g. for drought, cold waves, heat waves, floods, windstorms, and wildfires, for any point on Earth. By integrating these ready-to-use insights into your pipelines, you can be supported in your daily tasks on property risk exposure estimation on climate and natural disasters, on the understanding of the property investment time horizon, and on the identification of the most impactful hazards over a region.

An advanced risk analysis API-based platform for any point on the planet. With more than 45 indicators and 40+ years of processed historical Earth Observation data.


With precise elevation models, you can quickly analyze your area of interest to determine the feasibility of a new site before you build to minimize the uncertainty of future issues. On the other hand, there are tools that provide ready-to-use analytics for risk assessment covering a big amount of natural disasters at a regional scale. So, depending on the level of analysis that you need to dive into, check your potential construction site or new real estate investment with NEXTMap One or answr before you build to reduce the risk of damages from flooding, landslide, sea-level rise, or accessibility of your asset! And don't forget: a quick analysis in GIS software can reveal more than meets the eye.

Need a custom solution to support your real-estate activities?

Tell us about it. Fill out the form below with all the necessary information.  Our sales team will gather the most suitable satellite image datasets of up to 30cm spatial resolution and contact you as soon as possible.

Highlight the risk in real estate
cloudeo AG, Moritz Dreusicke 16 January, 2023
Sign in to leave a comment
January 2023
Featured product: PlanetScope