First Phases of Florida Coastal Mapping Project Complete

Tampa, FL – The State of Florida embarked on the Florida Coastal Mapping project in an effort to best prepare for future hurricane or tropical storm events. As of summer 2010 the first two of three phases have been completed. The overall Florida Coastal Mapping project involves:
• Collecting LiDAR data for coastal counties.
• Conducting model runs of the National Weather Service’s “Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes” (SLOSH) models for the state’s 11 coastal basins as well as the Okeechobee basin.
• Developing regional evacuation plans based on this new vulnerability data.

A significant amount of the LiDAR data gathering and SLOSH model development was conducted by the Program and Data Solutions (PDS) Joint Venture of PBS&J, URS, and Dewberry. The effort included developing a data gathering methodology including LiDAR and aerial photography, coordination between the National Weather Service and other agencies, and establishing potential uses of the final product.

Now that the PDS team has completed and updated its portion of the SLOSH models for the entire Florida coastline, Federal and Florida state and local emergency managers now have a more complete picture of areas that must be evacuated immediately before a tropical storm. This gives them the ability to integrate this state-of-the-art information into the development of emergency management plans and operational procedures.

Relying upon this new risk data, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Division of Community Planning, and Department of Transportation, in coordination with the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, developed the Statewide Regional Evacuation Study Program for the Tampa Bay Region. This report updates the region’s evacuation population estimates, evacuation clearance times, and public shelter demand. The study was officially released on August 26, 2010, and covers Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, and Pinellas counties and their municipalities. Tampa Bay is the first region in Florida to use the new data to update its regional hurricane evacuation study.

More information about the Tampa Bay study is available on their website at

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PBS&J ( is an employee-owned company that provides infrastructure planning, engineering, construction management, architecture, and program management services to public and private clients. The firm is ranked by Engineering News-Record as 28th among the nation’s top consulting firms. PBS&J is a subsidiary of The PBSJ Corporation, a family of businesses which has nearly 3,500 employees and more than 80 offices across the United States and abroad.