A Climate Impact Assessment Service for Urban and Regional Planning

Period of Performance: 04/06/2015 - 04/05/2017


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Azavea Inc
340 N 12th Street, Suite 402
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


Throughout the world, there is a critical need for readily accessible modeling tools that can transform climate change research into useful intelligence that is relevant to local decision-makers. These individuals need more than the standard visualizations of global-scale temperature and precipitation changes that are currently available on informational websites; they need that data translated into impacts on extreme weather events, urban energy demands, regional food yields, water supply, fire risk, and public health issues specific to their communities. The overall research objective is to develop new software tools that enable non-researchers to visually and dynamically explore climate change data specific to their communities without the need for years of specialized training, complex data assimilation, or huge investments in technology infrastructure. Phase I focused on the issues of computer processing time, data storage capacity, and command-line interfaces that remain a significant barrier to widespread access and use of climate data by local decision-makers. The Phase I prototype is now is able to store and process large amounts of historical and forecast climate change data, as well as general sustainability metrics that complement the climate data and add local context. The prototype will be extended from a Philadelphia-based pilot to nationwide coverage in Phase II. Further, the application will enable client organizations to upload their own local datasets specific to their communities in order to customize the modeling output. This will support compelling new use cases focused on community resilience planning and resource allocation. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Primary customers will be municipal, regional, and state governments that need to support environmental planning, watershed management, and disaster response efforts that are critical to their communities. Secondary markets will include Homeland Security and defense agencies that need to support maritime awareness and asset management; insurance firms that need to support risk exposure modeling from extreme weather events; and electric utilities that are planning new strategies to adapt to climate change.