Science & Technology

The methodology behind our flood risk models has been fully peer-reviewed in world-leading journals.

Fathom is a dynamic team of world-leading scientists who produce pioneering research to ensure our data is at the cutting edge of flood modelling.

We partner with a wide range of academic and commercial institutions to ensure that our research is world-leading.
Fathom data provide an invaluable source of information that can be used to mitigate against, or respond to, extreme events globally.
Remote Sensing
Space & technology
Remote Sensing Solutions are a space and technology company, specialising is in the development of technologies in the field of remote sensing. RSS work with a diverse list of clients including NASA, NOAA and various research institutes.
Amongst the wide and varying challenges faced by RSS, the company has worked with the Open Geospatial Consortium to try and formalize and define standards for geospatial information across different regions.

More broadly, RSS are continually seeking to identify how the latest developments in the field of remote sensing may be used to advance the field of hydraulic modelling.
Challenges faced include:

How can we develop standards for high resolution geo-spatial information, across different regions?

Can we develop methods to quickly allow hydraulic model outputs to be downscaled to finer resolution terrain maps?  

How can the latest developments in remote sensing be used by hydraulic modellers?
Our solution
Fathom have worked with RSS on numerous projects, including OGC Test bed 11, for which hydraulic models of both San Francisco and East Africa were produced at varying resolutions.
Fathom have also produced flood model output on varying digital elevations models (DEMs). A collaborative project funded by Google also produce hydraulic downscaling algorithms.
The results
New standards have been developed within OGC Testbed 11, defining how geo information should be represented across different areas and spatial resolutions.

Work carried out on different DEMs has also been used to demonstrate the importance of the terrain model in developing better flood models, and used as evidence to call for better data to be made available.

Finally, the algorithms developed as part of the Google project allow coarser resolution flood model output to be downscaled on to finer resolution grids almost instantaneously inside the latest Google platforms.
// RSS is a commercial R&D company operating in the fields of radar systems and applied sciences. We work with SSBN on a number of projects involving their high-end flood modelling expertise. We are pleased and excited to be working with them. Amongst other work, they assist us on OGC projects, several NASA-funded projects and work with Google Inc. //
Jim Canniff
CFO, Remote Sensing Solutions
The Nature
US environmental
The Nature Conservancy is
a US-based environmental organisation aiming to conserve and restore
natural environments.
Among their many projects, The Nature Conservancy are exploring the possible restoration of wetland systems that have been adversely impacted by flood defence structures.

Further to this, The Nature Conservancy are also more broadly interested in flood risk, particularly in identifying large scale exposure to flooding across different demographics, and how this exposure may change in the future, given changes to climate and land use management.
Broader challenges include:

How many people are presently exposed to flooding in the USA, and how many will be exposed in the future?

What are the impacts of man-made structures and natural flood plains?

Can any of these areas be restored to their natural state, with the added benefit of mitigating flood risk?

How will the development of protected areas impact the number of people exposed and what are the benefits of retaining protected areas as floodplains?
Our solution
Fathom have built bespoke large-scale models that allow The Nature Conservancy to explore floodplain connectivity and identify structures that may be removed. Our hazard data have been combined with maps of current and projected population, land-use and GDP across the conterminous United States.
This has permitted answers to previously unknown or poorly answered questions: an accurate estimate of exposure in the USA and the mitigatory benefits of avoiding development of natural areas.
The results
A number of peer-reviewed papers have been published based on this collaborative research, enhancing understanding of flood exposure in the United States.

Furthermore, The Nature Conservancy are able to inform clients not only of ecosystem benefits in the preservation of natural land, but also benefits in terms of avoided flood exposure.
// Fathom’s powerful models are uniquely able to support our work evaluating potential nature-based solutions at large scales.

Working with them has been great - they are highly skilled professionals who have delivered products on time throughout every phase of our work. //
Dr Kris Johnson
Associate Director for Science and Planning,
The Nature Conservancy
Catastrophe model
Impact Forecasting are a world leading model provider, developing catastrophe models across multiple
perils and territories.
Although Impact Forecasting have a suite of products available to cover multiple perils, including an in house European flood model, there are areas of the world in which collaboration with external partners enables Impact Forecasting to offer greater model coverage.
These areas include South and Central America, where there is significant demand from clients for flood coverage.
Our solution
Fathom have developed methodologies to enable robust flood models to be built, without the need for local information to be included. This allows flood hazard data to be produced over large, previously unmodelled territories.
Fathom have partnered with Impact Forecasting, using their cutting-edge tools and methods developing accessible catastrophe models to develop flood scenario models covering all of Latin America.
The results
A collaborative effort between Fathom and Impact Forecasting has yielded scenario flood models covering all Latin America.

This provides their clients to assess their potential losses large, and previously unmodeled territories.
// The Fathom flood hazard data allows us to offer clients a solution for the Latin American market. Insurers and reinsurers in this territory are now able to view and assess the flood risk in their portfolio based on historical scenarios at a range of return periods.

The scenario model for Latin America is fully implemented in ELEMENTS, Impact Forecasting’s catastrophe loss modelling platform. //
Adam Podlaha
Head of Impact Forecasting
US Environmental
Protection Agency
US environmental
The US Clean Water Act stipulates that wetlands within the 100-year floodplain should be protected areas.
Previously, the EPA have used FEMA flood maps to determine floodplain extent. These maps, however, are spatially lacking since they generally focus on urban areas.

The EPA have employed a number of relatively poor approximations to ‘fill-in’ the gaps in FEMA data, including soil-based indicators and distance proxies.
The EPA required a more robust delineation of 100-year floodplains, so utilised our hazard data.
Our solution
In combination with researchers at the University of Bristol, a map of wetlands across the continental United States was intersected with our 100-year hazard layer.
The results
The location, number, combined area and characteristics of wetlands within the 100-year floodplain was generated.