June 23, 2017

Data Investigations

Submerging City, Rising Skylines:

Using GIS Mapping and Virtual Reality to Investigate Miami’s Massive Development at a Time of Rising Seas

This sample map depicts condos built in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood between 2014 and 2018.
Source: miamiluxuryhomes.com/list-of-miami-condo-buildings.htm


This project is funded by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and examines the role of development during sea level rise in South Florida. Project partners include The Miami Times, the South Florida News Service, eyesontherise.org and FIU’s Mobile Virtual Reality Lab, FIU’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Center, and The South Florida Black Journalists Association.

This project features the mapping of building permits throughout Miami-Dade County onto an interactive map developed by eyesontherise.org and the GIS Center with funds from a 2014 Online News Association Challenge Fund. The map visualizes six feet of rise in South Florida. View it at right.

As we wrote in our funding request to the Fund for Investigative Journalism about our project:

At the same time South Florida’s public officials and businesses acknowledge challenges of rising seas that already strain pockets of commerce and citizens, government officials continue to approve massive luxury development, spending tax dollars both on infrastructure to combat climate change and on incentivizing new construction for the wealthy. This investigation uses interactive maps to plot permits for new development in South Florida between 2014 and 2018 while visualizing current and potential rising waters to examine the state of government-approved private development and related public spending as swaths of the region become uninhabitable.

Work will begin on this project in Fall 2017.


Project Partners:

Dr. Robert E. Gutsche, Jr., Assistant Professor, FIU Journalism + Media and Faculty Lead, FIU’s Mobile Virtual Reality Lab (Project Lead)

Carolyn Guniss, Executive Editor, The Miami Times and President, The South Florida Black Journalists Association

Dr. Moses Shumow, Associate Professor, FIU Journalism + Media

Dan Evans, News Director, South Florida News Service

Jennifer Fu, Head, FIU’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Center


Data visualization above by Damian Gordon and Eduardo Fuentes.