Tropical Cyclone Debbie’s devastation to north Queensland’s prime agricultural land has been laid bare in a high-tech government mapping system.
The system uses satellite imagery, aerial imagery and on-ground data to map out what areas and what industries were in Debbie’s firing line.
The map reveals sugar industry north of Mackay and seasonal crops around Bowen were the most at risk.
Horticultural groups are also using a similar mapping technology to assess the damage to tree crops including mangos and avocados.
Science Minister Leeanne Enoch said the map would be used to help communities recover from the cyclone and allow the government to prepare for the next disaster.
“Tropical Cyclone Debbie devastated north Queensland communities and impacted greatly on agricultural land in the area, and other parts of the State,” she said.
“Map data provides critical information for planning and responding to, and recovering from, the impact of natural disaster events such as cyclones, floods, bushfires and droughts.”
The map was made through the government’s Queensland Land Use Mapping Program, or QLUMP.
Horticulture Innovation Australia chief John Lloyd said the mapping software was also being used to review Debbie’s damage to vulnerable north Queensland tree crops.
“The hours of mapping that’s been generated through this ambitious four-year project is already showing its worth,” he said.
“The maps are fundamental in natural disasters like TC Debbie – quickly and easily representing the macadamia, avocado and mango orchards impacted by the cyclone.”
Mr Lloyd said farmers and scientists can upload damage photos and observations to the mapping project through the Land Use Survey by QLUMP app that can be downloaded through the Apple app and Google Play stores.
Ms Enoch said public participation in the mapping effort was vital to the government getting a fully informed picture.
“I encourage Queenslanders to download the app and get involved in helping the scientists improve the maps by contributing information about land uses in their region,” she said.
“The use of the mapping to support natural disaster response and recovery efforts highlights the importance of accurate and locally-informed land use maps.”
The map can be accessed by searching for “TC Debbie – Impacted Land Use” at www.arcgis.com.