Australia experiences each year a range of natural disasters including floods, bushfires, server storms, landslides and earthquakes. Queensland and New South Wales have experienced an increasing number of flood events in the past few years. Both populated areas along the coast as well as isolated rural towns have been hit hard and emergency services have had a hard time dealing with these disasters. Floods are estimated to be the most costly natural disaster in Australia and cost local and state governments hundreds of millions. Having a flood plan should be now a priority to assist local councils with planning and decision-making in case of emergency.

Bushfire is not a new phenomenon in Australia but an increasing population coupled with hotter temperatures increases the risk of fire and can cause dramatic loss of life and extensive property damages such as the Back Saturday bushfires in 2009.

The use of aerial photogrammetry surveys can play a major role for all the emergency management phases such as mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.  New technologies need to be pushed forward to significantly improve the management of floods and bushfires. In recent years using GIS technologies the planning and development of infrastructure has improved due to the knowledge of floodplain and bushfire prone areas. Overtime State and Federal governments are acknowledging the value of spatial products and technology.


Efficient forecasting plays a very important role in protecting people’s life and infrastructures. Flood risk modelling allows agencies and emergency departments to develop accurate catchment flood risk management strategies.

The effective use of accurate digital terrain models that are produced by LiDAR and Aerial Photogrammetry make a significant difference in reducing the effect of the flood. Over the last few years digital terrain models from photogrammetry have improved in spatial accuracy and point density. At the same time photogrammetry is able to generate Ortho-Photography to allow emergency services to gain a clean knowledge of the before and after flood damage.

Aerial orthophoto of the Serpentine flood January 2011


Natural and man induced bush fires occur every year in Australia. Emergency Services, State and Federal Governments need to access up to date spatial information such as current vegetation, slope, aspect, infrastructure, infrastructure location, evacuation routes, hazardous areas and locations of water sources.Most of this information can be extracted from Photogrammetry with visible and near-infrared aerial ortho-photos with elevation data to serve as a base for GIS applications and decision making.

The base for GIS applications allow users to update their bushfire hazard plan and predict the evolution of a bushfire based of fire models and real-time weather information. Quick aircraft mobilisation and data processing allows emergency services to use aerial imagery to support recovery efforts and asses the extent of the fire and damage that has occurred. Mapping technologies and photogrammetry are the base for effective management of bushfire and risk assessment.

CIR aerial imagery of Delburn bushfire - AEROmetrex