LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — An environmental group in California is recruiting drone hobbyists and smartphone users to map flooding and coastal damage after El Nino storms with the idea that the images will help predict what the future coastline will look like as sea levels rise from global warming.

The Nature Conservancy launched the "Phones & Drones El Nino Mapping Initiative" this month and is working with a private company to stitch the geotagged images into 3D maps that can be studied and also shared with authorities concerned about the impact of sea level rise.

This winter's El Nino weather pattern is bringing California the strongest storms it has seen in years.

The group says flooding from those storms will be a "crystal ball" that can aid preparations for a much different coastline.