"An overflow of water onto lands that are used or usable by man and not normally covered by water. Floods have two essential characteristics: The inundation of land is temporary; and the land is adjacent to and inundated by overflow from a river, stream, lake, or ocean." (U.S. Geological Survey, 2019) 


U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). "Water Science Glossary Terms". USGS Water Science School. (2019). Link: https://water.usgs.gov/edu/dictionary.html#W

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Towards new applications of spaceborne technology on flood protection

Recently, in July 2021, destructive and deadly floods occurred in Western Europe. The estimated insured losses only in Germany could approach 5 billion Euros (AIR Worldwide, 2021). However, the total amount of the damage is currently not foreseeable due to the variety and complexity of the damage patterns and the unbelievable extent of the disaster. It seems the socio-economic losses will dramatically increase and break a new record in the insurance industry after evaluating the complete record of damages’ reports (see Figure 1).

Interview with Ruvimbo Samanga

Ruvimbo Samanga, despite her age, has vast experience in the law, space, and water sectors. She is presently involved in a regional study on the integration of GIS and statistical information in Zimbabwe, working towards the promulgation of GIS standards and legislation to support a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). Ruvimbo is excited by the merging of sustainable development for water management with space technologies because it is scalable, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective over the long run. Ruvimbo feels strongly that space technologies have a role to play in policy and legal affairs, and also sees potential especially in the use of emerging technologies such as block chain, artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing.


GEO - Global Water Sustaibility

Established in 2017 by the Group on Earth Observations - Water Community, GEOGloWS is a voluntary mechanism created by informal agreement among multiple partners from inside and outside the UN system. This mechanism allows for engagement and greater integration with trans-national organizations and agencies with water responsibilities at the National and Local levels.  

Deltares Stakeholder


Deltares is an independent institute for applied research in the field of water, subsurface and infrastructure. Throughout the world, we work on smart solutions, innovations and applications for people, environment and society.


Capacity Building and Training Material

UN SPIDER Recommended Practice: Use of Digital Elevation Data for Storm Surge Coastal Flood Modelling


Storm surges and tidal waves are global phenomena that considerably affect human populations in coastal and island regions. According to the Guide to Storm Surge Forecasting published by the World Meteorological Organization in 2011, storm surges can be defined as “oscillations of the water level in a coastal or inland body of water in the time range of a few minutes to a few days, resulting from forcing from atmospheric weather systems. According to this definition, the so-called wind waves, which have durations on the order of several seconds, are excluded”.

UN SPIDER Recommended Best Practice: Flood Hazard Assessment Capacity Building and Training Material

UN SPIDER Recommended Best Practice: Flood Hazard Assessment


Flood hazard assessments are critical to identifying areas at risk and taking relevant preparation and mitigation measures to address the hazard. Using the HEC-RAS 2D model for preparing flood hazard maps, this Recommended Practice explains how to identify flood-prone areas and exposed infrastructure. Through its focus on the prevention and mitigation stages of the disaster management cycle, it complements the Recommended Practice on Flood Mapping and Damage Assessment with Sentinel-2, also developed by SUPARCO.

Recommended Practice: Flood Mapping and Damage Assessment using Sentinel-1 SAR data in Google Earth Engine

Floods, as natural disasters, are most commonly caused by storms and torrential rain or by overflowing lakes, rivers or oceans; this type of natural disaster is one of the most common and effects nearly every demographic and area on Earth. As they are wide-ranging disasters, floods leave disaster managers with a wide-range of concerns. The immediate concern during a disaster is that of human life and the infrastructure needed to offer emergency response through. Floods can wash away bridges and buildings, can destroy electricity systems and can even disconnect portions of cities or rural communities from the first responders who need to reach them. Long-term concerns caused by major floods focus on systemic damage; food is often the most serious concern as crops are destroyed and livestock drowns in major flood disasters. This Recommended Practice aims to create important disaster information for both the short- and long-term concerns of floods. The tool produces a flood extent map using Sentitnel-1 SAR images, as well as displays information about cropland and population centers affected in order to address the totality of major concerns that floods cause.