Flood Zone NYC Image: Flood Zone NYC

Mayor de Blasio’s recent pledge of $100 million in infrastructure investment to safeguard against flooding is a powerful reminder that extreme weather events pose a real risk to the city.

Flood Zone NYC is a simple yet important tool that aims to protect residents in case of flooding this season — and it could save lives.

Designed by Darrell Hanley, a Brooklyn-based user interface designer and web developer, Flood Zone NYC reveals color-coded evacuation zones and their corresponding designated shelter areas. The tool features responsive mobile-design and is even available as an Android app and on the Google Chrome store.

The City of New York recognizes that the risk for flooding is greater than ever. New York has experienced a marked rise in flooding events in recent years with experts crediting “local topography, including lengthy river and ocean coastlines, dense urban development patterns, the capacity of our aging sewer system and increasingly extreme weather” for this increase.

Hanley saw a glaring public safety gap when it came to disaster awareness — one that could be solved with simple design.

“Flood Zone NYC was born out of a frustration with the official NYC hurricane evacuation zone tool. I found that it took too many steps to find the most important information (if you were in a flood zone), and the information on what to do afterwards was a bit disjointed,” he wrote on the Flood Zone site.

He responded with an alternative color scheme for the evacuation zones which gives “symbolic meaning to users.” It advances from most intense to least intense risk, changing hue from purple, to red, to yellow. The map (powered by Google) is also simplified, and it works responsively — usable on any touch enabled smart phone.

The map is also accompanied by disaster preparedness instructions, advising users to prepare a disaster plan, know where they should go in the event of a disaster, keep a “go bag” ready and assemble an emergency supply kit.

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