Crowd sourcing of flood data during natural disasters

Samuel Perez

Thursday 2 july 2015

17:30 - 17:33h at North America (level 0)

Themes: (T) Extreme events, natural variability and climate change, (ST) Learning from disasters, Poster pitches

Parallel session: Poster pitches: 13I. Extreme - Lessons Disaster

Recording of flood levels during natural disasters is an important task of local and state government to determine areas of greatest flooding, sending out of assistance to the area of greater need and mapping the extent of damage. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Agency collects the data from local and state government and coordinates with the U.S. President’s office for an official declaration which will start the process for the release of federal aid for the disaster area. During a natural disaster from a hurricane, storm surge or tropical storm, local and state government personnel resources can be overwhelmed with coping with providing humanitarian support, search and rescue operations and evacuation of affected residents. The task of collecting flood level data can be outsourced to the local citizens using a smartphone app called Flood Tracker. This app allows to submit data of flood level measurements, time, date and location. This app will also allow photos and videos taken of the location for documentary evidence. The person submitting this data will be pre-screened using an online application and a phone interview. The data collected will be used to determine areas that are flood-prone and also serve as background data of effectiveness of existing flood control systems. City planners can learn from how water flows from one land feature to the other by analyzing the video submitted and design better flood control systems. Citizens also empower themselves through their participation in this data collecting activity and helps foster greater community in the town and cities where this app will be used. Flood data from this app can also be imported into a map system such as ArcGIS for Windows Mobile and the GIS system of the city utilizing this Flood Tracker app.