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In 2012, while working as researchers at the University of Bristol, Dr Christopher Sampson and Dr Andrew Smith started to discuss the major obstacles that needed to be overcome to simulate flooding in developing regions of the world. Flood models had historically been built at small-scales and in data-rich areas, so the creation of large-scale comprehensive models spanning data-scarce regions would require a radically different approach.
The founders began to examine the best ways to bring together cutting-edge research methods from across a range of complementary fields such as hydrology, hydraulics and remote sensing. In 2013, this conversation led to the formation of Fathom. Above all, the aim was to create a leading, data-driven organisation with transparency at its core.
Today, Fathom has become a global leader in water risk intelligence. Our award-winning data and insights are used by firms around the world, from (re)insurers and financial institutions looking to assess the flood risk of their portfolio, to assisting engineering consultancies with decision-making across the project lifecycle, to governments and nonprofits working on disaster response.
Academic research remains as important to the team now as when Fathom was first imagined. In the face of the increasing challenges posed by climate change and urbanisation, this commitment ensures we are providing customers and partners with market-leading flood models based on the ever-advancing frontiers of scientific research.
Satellite Earth observation has always been at the core of our work, underpinning the models which enable flood risk simulation at a global scale.
Looking to the future, we’re excited to see how the NASA Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission can transform our understanding of global hydrology. The mission, launched at the end of 2022, will provide the first global, highly accurate and spatially continuous monitoring of global rivers from space. We look forward to exploring how this data can be used to advance both the space sector and flood modelling.