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Kirkland News Room

New City Geological Hazard Maps – Is Your Property At Risk?

Join map creator and planning experts at City Hall for Dec. 11 presentation

Contact: David Barnes
Planning Department 

KIRKLAND, Wash. – Understanding where landslide and earthquake hazards exist is the first step in protecting property from damage. The City will soon post online updated, technically enhanced maps that show more precisely where these risks could occur. Residents and businesses are invited to a presentation at City Hall on Monday, December 11 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Council Chambers to hear from the map creator and City planning experts and to get a sneak peek at the updated maps.

“Information is a vital tool for emergency preparedness,” said Councilmember Penny Sweet, chair of the Public Safety Committee. “The Council invested in this geo-hazard mapping project to help residents, developers, engineers, architects and first responders understand where the risks are in our City so we can plan and prepare for any scenario.”

The main topics for the presentation include:

  • How the maps are informing the Code Amendment process for Kirkland Zoning Code Chapter 85 (Geologically Hazardous Areas) and how the public can participate.
  • What resources the City’s Office of Emergency Management can make available to the community to mitigate risk associated with geologically hazardous areas.
  • What the City will do with the updated maps to help inform first responders if an emergency related to a geological hazard occurs.

The main presentation will be delivered by Kathy Troost, PhD, LG, from the University of Washington’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences. Kathy led the group of researchers from the University’s GeoMapNW Center who collected field data in the summer and fall of 2016. Along with field mapping, the researchers used Light Detection and Ranging, referred to as LiDAR, which is like RADAR except it uses lasers instead of radio waves. LiDAR uses bursts of light in quick succession to collect precise distance measurements in order to produce a three-dimensional map. LiDAR has been used in the City since 2001, but GeoMapNW’s technology enhancements bring eight-times the resolution to the mapping system. 

The cutting edge technology used in the project puts Kirkland at the forefront of geo-hazard mapping and will expand previous information for public and private development projects throughout the City. 

For more information on this community lecture, as well as the code amendment public process, please contact David Barnes, Senior Planner, at For background information on the mapping process, view the Currently Kirkland video story on the subject.