Sea Level Rise App Launched: What’s SLR Mean to You?

App allows users to view sea rise projections in South Florida; see related news coverage by Fusion

Today,, a project of four Florida International University School of Journalism and Mass Communication professors and their students, takes a proactive step in helping South Florida citizens understand the sea level issues affecting their areas.

Through funding from the Online News Association, the project’s Sea Level Rise App — also know as the Sea Level Rise Toolbox – is now available at

The app is free and was officially launched at BarCamp Miami at the Miami Ad School in Wynwood. It is also being featured in reporting on the Miami Beach Centennial celebration by the media company Fusion.

Click to use the app


How it works

Using elevation data from the Google Elevation Service, and based on sea level rise calculations created by Peter Harlem, a scientist at FIU’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Center, the app visualizes the possible impact of rising seas on South Florida.
The app’s main feature is an interactive sea level rise viewer where users can enter an address to visualize how up to a six-foot increase in sea level may affect their neighborhoods. Currently, the app focuses on locations within Miami-Dade County.

“Our goal is to inform citizens of South Florida about the potential impact of sea level rise where they live,” said Susan Jacobson, Assistant Professor of Journalism at FIU and the app project manager. “We want to help our fellow Floridians adapt to sea level rise and better understand what our local governments, including Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County, are doing to adapt to sea level rise. To this end, FIU journalism students have produced a video series, and we have partnered with journalists from Fusion, whose reporting will help provide this context to the app.”

Applying ‘crowdhydrology’

As development on the Sea Level Rise Toolbox continues, it will also include a database of flood reports from both government and citizen sources in South Florida. Miami-Dade County recently launched an open data portal that includes flood reports, which will be included in the flood database.

“The flood report database will help residents identify the incidence of what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls ‘nuisance flooding,’ a phenomenon that is increasingly common as coastal sea levels rise,” Jacobson said.

Dozens of journalists, scientists, technology developers and citizens have contributed to the development of the Sea Level Rise Toolbox, including FIU’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Center under the leadership of GIS Director Jennifer Fu and Dan McGillicuddy, the lead developer; reporters, editors and designers at Fusion; the civic hacking group Code for Miami; many students and faculty members at FIU; members of Hacks/Hackers in Miami and Buenos Aires; and many others who lent their opinions and expertise to the project.

Research related to this app development will also be presented later this summer.