I believe that all of us remember 2014 Southeast Europe flood, than 2017 Croatian coastal towns flooding. People got hurt and everybody in those areas suffered from heavy material damages. Governments did the best they could to help people, maybe some improvements of flood prevention systems were made – for sure we are seeing government’s adaptation of IoT technology for early flood detection, warning system and flood data collection after events of those kind. But I recently asked myself, what we as local people can do to make our villages and cities smarter, because we know for the best how to improve the lives of our local society and how to protect it,we can’t always be waiting for government to act.
I’ve found an interesting example in a region at the North of England where Calderdale Flood Sensor Network was set up as warning system when water levels start to rise. Fortunately, a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale is a home of AB Open – an open source and technical communities consultancy that is specialized for embedded and wireless systems. They were aware of citizen science initiative Flood Network that has the idea of building the UK’s largest networks made of flood sensors bought by local people on their own will of doing something for the community. Flood Network is using LoRa WAN The Things Network to connect all those sensors and get readings to its data platform that automatically corrects the incoming data are graphically shows it on publicly available Flood Network Map. So, AB Open partnered with Flood Network and built IoT gateways based LoRaWAN and open source software for their region – Things Calderdale was born. Beside getting an early warning flood solution and key indicator for future flood prevention, other kinds of application can be built based on that data as well – since their sensor readings are also available on Things Calderdale Data Platform.
I believe that there are still some of you wondering why to do it when there’s government’s flood prevention system already. Well, beside benefits mentioned above, I’d emphasize that this gives you freedom to have flood warning system of your own – maybe for basement flood prevention, also by participating in this kind of initiative we can get a finer grained data about water levels behaviour in some specific area of local interest which government is not considering, but local municipality could see that there’s a need for shoring up old drainage systems, raising roadways, or reinvesting in infrastructure that keeps their people and businesses safe.
Another thing that I also find extremely positive is how AB Open acted, as said by their managing director Andrew Back “This is in part about contributing to the local community, which has been severely hit by flooding over the years, and in part an attempt to stimulate innovation in IoT projects in the region”. I hope that we might see similar actions form some of companies in our surrounding, like for example Infosys that has a local office in a city of Karlovac which is struggling with flood threats for years.