RISK MAP − Improving Flood Risk Maps as a Means to Foster Public Participation and Raising Flood Risk Awareness

Toward Flood Resilient Communities


Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology

Department of Economics

Department of Environmental and Planning Law


2nd ERA-Net CRUE Research Funding Initiative

Funded by:

  • BMBF – Germany
  • Defra – United Kingdom
  • Lebensministerium – Austria
  • MEEDDAT – France


9/2009 – 8/2011

RISK MAP is funded by the ERA-Net CRUE-Initiative.


RISK MAP aims at improving flood risk maps as a means to foster public participation and raising flood risk awareness. For achieving this aim RISK MAP

(1) develops rules for appropriate stakeholder participation enabling
the incorporation of local knowledge and preferences into risk maps;

(2) improves the content of risk maps by considering social, economic
and environmental risks - therefore an existing multicriteria risk mapping tool is enhanced towards a participative dialogue tool;

(3) improves the visualisation of risk maps in order to produce
user-friendly and understandable risk maps and

(4) provides quantitative information related to the content of risk
maps by the application of eye-tracking methods and by experimental graphic semiology.


The project is organised along three working phases:

  • During the first phase (WP 1) RISK MAP will investigate the status quo in risk mapping practice under special consideration of participation activities and legal framework.
  • During the second phase (WP 2), firstly, rules for the inclusion of stakeholders will be developed. In each case study two stakeholder workshops will be carried out. During the first workshop participants will identify new risk criteria and specify limitations of existing risk maps. Based on this new risk maps will be compiled considering

          − new risk criteria and
          − an improved visualisation. 

These improved risk maps will be tested by selected stakeholders with regard to their comprehensibility by means of eye-tracking tests. During the second workshops the results will be discussed with stakeholders; their preferences with regard to the different risk criteria will be incorporated in a multicriteria risk mapping tool in order to produce final aggregated risk maps.

  • During the final phase (WP 3), the results from the case studies are compiled in a final report outlining common recommendations for improved risk mapping.

Case studies

The research process is conducted in four case studies (WP 4):

  • Austria
  • England
  • Saxony
  • Bavaria

In each case study two stakeholder workshops will be organised.

Expected outcomes

The major results of RISK MAP will be recommendations on how to organise participation in risk mapping and on how to improve the visualisation and content of risk maps.

The partners cooperating 

Related publications

Steinführer, Annett; Kuhlicke, Christian; De Marchi, Bruna; Scolobig, Anna; Tapsell, Sue; Tunstall, Sylvia (2009): Local Communities at Risk from Flooding: Social Vulnerability, Resilience and Recommendations for Flood Risk Management in Europe. Leipzig: Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, 88 pp.
Task11_Broschuere_7-09 (11.3 MB)

Meyer, V.; Scheuer, S.; Haase, D. (2009): A multicriteria approach for flood risk mapping exemplified at the Mulde river, Germany. Nat Hazards (2009) 48:17–39.