One of the key priorities for disaster risk reduction is to ensure decision makers, stakeholders, and the public understand their exposure to disaster risk, so that they can take protective action. Flood maps are a potentially valuable tool for facilitating this understanding of flood risk, but previous research has found that they vary considerably in availability and quality.
Using an evaluation framework comprising nine criteria grounded in existing scholarship, this study assessed the quality of flood maps available to the public in Canadian communities located in designated flood risk areas. It found that flood maps in most municipalities (62 %) are low quality (meeting less than 50 % of the criteria) and the highest score was 78 % (seven of nine criteria met).
The findings suggest that a more concerted effort to produce high-quality, publicly accessible flood maps is required to support Canada's international commitment to disaster risk reduction. Further questions surround possible weighting of quality assessment criteria, whether and how individuals seek out flood maps, and how flood risk information could be better communicated using modern technology.