Using volunteered geographical information to map the November 2012 floods in Slovenia
Volunteered geographical information represents a promising field in the monitoring and mapping of natural disasters. The contributors of volunteered geographical information have the advantage that they are at the location of the natural disaster at exactly the time when the disaster happened. Therefore, they can provide the most complete account of the extent of the damage. This is not always possible when applying photogrammetric or remote-sensing methods, as prior to the data acquisition an order to carry out the measurements has to be made. On 5 and 6 November 2012 almost half of Slovenia was badly affected by floods. The gathering of volunteered geographical information in the form of images and videos of these floods is presented. Two strategies were used: (1) a public call for volunteered contributions and (2) a web search for useful images and their authors. The authorship of these images was verified with every contributor. In total, 15 contributors provided 102 terrestrial and aerial images and one aerial video, with 45% classified as potentially useful. For actual flood mapping 22 images and 12 sequences from video were used. With the help of the volunteered images 12% of the most severely affected river sections were mapped. Altogether, 1195.3 ha of flooded areas outside of the usual river beds along a total river length of 48 km were mapped. The results are compared with those from satellite mapping of the same floods, which successfully covered 18% of the most affected river sections.