Spoken Floodplain

Location Services Not Yet Running

How to Use this Website


  1. This website experience only works for Harris County, Texas!
  2. Turn on your phone's map application, google maps, apple maps, etc.
  3. Start this website. (steps 1 and 2 can be done in either order)
  4. Click the green button, which lets your device know you're okay with this website using your location. You may also need to change other phone settings. See privacy information below.
  5. You can now go ahead and drive or bike.

You might need to turn off the "sleep" functionality of your phone, so it doesn't go to sleep. Without this, you'll need to touch the screen occassionally to keep it "awake".

Currently, it needs your native map running at the same time no iOS. Without it, your location may stall out and not refresh properly. This will eventualy no longer be needed in a future update. Directions and this map will speak at the same time. As this is a demo, it speaks all the time. Eventually, it will only speak when you enter or leave a floodplain.

Finally, this is brand new and a work in progress! Please let us know your experiences and drop us a line. See the feedback section below.


This website is is not suitable for legal, engineering, surveying, or property purchase purposes.

Please visit FEMA's Map Service Center at https://www.fema.gov/flood-maps to view the effective FIRM for Harris County. For an official floodplain determination, please contact an insurance agent or mortgage lender.

This map is a representation and approximation of the relative location of geographic information, land marks and physical addresses. This floodplain polygons were exported at a specific moment in time based on tentative FEMA FIRMs of a specific version. FEMA floodplain maps evolve over time. Do not assume this is the latest! Additionally, as the climate changes, FEMA floodplain maps are increasingly out of date. Finally, the data for your location comes from your device, which has uncertainty as well. Please check specific addresses against FEMA floodplain maps anytime you need accurate information. Do not rely on this application for accurate information or make any decisions on the basis of information provided by it!

Flooding is not limited to floodplains. Many Harris County areas outside floodplains got flooding damage during Hurrican Harvey.


This website is meant to supply SPOKEN floodplain information while ON THE MOVE!

While other floodplain maps listed below under "Other Floodplain Resources" are best used sitting at home in front of a computer, this service is meant to be used while in a car or on a bike. People can be told when they enter or leave a floodplain without having to actively interact with a device by clicking through many screens and typing in addresses.

Studies have shown that putting floodplain information inside home buyers workflows change how they percieve the information and changes their home purchasing behavior.

This website is based on the hypothesis that changing how and when people experience floodplain information may change their purchasing behavior.

  1. Change how you experience floodplain information:
    • from... an abstract map
    • to... information experienced in real-time while physically experiencing a place.
  2. Change when you experience floodplain information:
    • from... separate in time from looking at a house and potentially days later.
    • to... information experienced in real-time and potentially even before you see a house.

Avoid falling in love with a house and then have to argue yourself out of that decision once you learn it is in a floodplain or even a floodway.

Other Floodplain Resources

Other floodplain maps focus on serving users who are sitting at a computer and looking up information for a single address. This map is a supplement to these other map experiences.

Harris County Flood Control District Interactive Flood Mapping Tool

- Link to Harris County Flood Control District Interactive Flood Mapping Tools



Information about Floodplains

This information is from Harris County Engineering Department.

Harris County is the third largest county in the United States with a population greater than three million. It covers 1,788 square miles with 1,500 channels totaling about 2,500 miles in length within twenty-two watersheds. The land use consists of urban, residential, commercial, and heavy industrial areas. In the last century, over 30 thunderstorms, tropical storms, and hurricanes have caused flooding in Harris County. Each bayou and creek include areas known as "floodplains," where water collects, pools, and flows during the course of a natural storm event.

A floodplain is defined as any land area susceptible to being inundated by water from any source. These areas are classified as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), and are located in a 100-year flood zone. The term "100-year flood" can be misleading. It does not mean that the flood will occur every 100 years; rather it is the flood elevation that has a 1- percent chance of being equaled or exceeded each year. Harris County has Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) that identify all floodplain areas within the county limits.

Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states. It is important to be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds, or low-lying ground that appears harmless in dry weather can flood.




Please let us know if you use the website. We are desparate for feedback from users. You can supply user feedback as described here.

This website is a front-end only website whose code lives in this code repository. Please flag code related problems and make any changes requests via an issue or pull request on the repository.

This was built as part of the Houston Hackathon 2022.


When your device shares your specific location, that is only used with the JavaScript used on your device. It is not sent to a server. Your IP will tracked on a temporary basis via Google Analytics, so we can understand how many people are using this service.