Member Highlight: IoT, Data Visualization Warn Coastal Residents about Flooding

2018-05-21T09:52:14+00:00 May 21, 2018|

Spearheaded by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the StormSense project combines IoT sensors, cloud systems, predictive analytics modeling, and data visualization mapping to predict flooding impacts and deliver warnings to residents in the Virginia Beach area.

(From Information Week/ By Jessica Davis) — The sound of the ocean waves may be relaxing when you are on a beach vacation, but for coastal communities dealing with increasing risks of flooding, rising water can be costly and dangerous. For those living in coastal communities, having accurate predictions around when those flood waters will rise and how long the flood waters will stay is important for families who must evacuate and property owners looking to protect assets.

That’s been a big impetus for a project called StormSense in the Virginia Beach, Virginia area, according to Jon Derek Loftis, PhD, an assistant research scientist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. The project provides alerts to emergency management offices in the area and will be rolling out alerts to residents there, looking to predict flooding 36 hours in advance and inform residents of how long the floods will last, Loftis told InformationWeek in an interview.

Loftis said that the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area has the second largest population at risk from sea level rise in the US after New Orleans, and more than 400,000 properties are at risk from coastal inundation. Flood risk comes from three things — storm surge, rainfall, and tidal flooding. So predicting rising water can be complex. Residents can be faced with water rising on three sides.

To make it work, the StormSense project includes sensors, cloud computing, advanced analytics, and GIS data. The system relies on data coming from sensors managed by three different organizations including the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, along with additional weather data that is fed into the StormSense hydrodynamic forecast model. Partners in the project include the cities of Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Williamsburg, along with York County.

Cloud services company Valarm provides management of water level monitoring sensors and alert messaging. The results are then mapped on an Esri ArcGIS server, which has the capability to provide visual flood model forecasts, and then is shared with emergency management services. Loftis said that the project team is working on determining the best ways to communicate alerts with the community. StormSense currently offers an Alexa app and is planning…

Read the full article here: